Email lists, ezines, discussion lists etc get you information from 'real people'. They are comments about issues (sometimes very biased) which can give you some valuable information. Treat them with care, but email lists are often an excellent source of good info. There are many free email lists.

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  Home > Workshops > Finding information on the Net >

Getting info from email lists

Click HERE to find people!What are they?

Email lists, ezines, discussion lists etc get you information from 'real people'. They are comments about issues (sometimes very biased) which can give you some valuable information. Treat them with care, but email lists are often an excellent source of good info. There are many free email lists.

Email discussion lists can only be read and posted to if you have 'subscribed' to the list - i.e. applied to be put on the circulation list (there's no subscription fee). It is normal for these discussion lists to be moderated. Some busy lists will send out postings as they are received, often with an option to receive only a daily or weekly digest of all the postings.

How can you use them to find information?

Information from email lists can be obtained in a number of ways:

  • Subscribing to and regularly reading the postings. This can be useful if the particular group or list is highly relevant to your needs. If an email list offers a digest option, opt for this as it will save on the number of emails that you receive.
  • Posting a request for advice or information, and seeing if you get any useful replies back from readers of the group or list. Before you post anything to an email list, take some time to read previous postings. That way you can ensure that your submission is not "off-topic". Some people replying to your query may email you separately in addition to posting their reply for all to see.
  • Using search engines to search archived material. Many email discussion lists hold archives, either on the Web or on FTP servers, and these can be searched. Lower down this page are methods and resources for carrying out these searches.
How do you find the right email lists?

  These can be found from searchable databases on the Web. Once you've found the details, you can them email the contact address given to "subscribe" to the list. Here are the best sources:

Further help on this topic...
<- Look here!
You'll find further help on this topic, or closely related issues, in the side columns on this page..
Look here! ->

Liszt
A directory of more than 20,000 listserv, listproc, majordomo and independently managed mailing lists from more than 500 sites
http://www.liszt.com
The LISTSERV reference
A database with information on all LISTSERV discussion groups on the Internet.
http://tile.net/
Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists
One of the first list of mailing lists, and still a good source.
http://www.neosoft.com/cgi-bin/paml_search/
listTool
listTool.com is a revolutionary free tool that makes the process of subscribing, unsubscribing and sending commands to 584 mailing and discussion lists (in categories such as law, art, music, computers, news, business, humor and more) easy.
http://www.listtool.com/

For a site that tells you everything you need to know about email (including email discussion lists), have a look at
Mary Houten-Kemp's Everything Email
http://everythingemail.net/

Searching archived material
The list owners of many email discussion lists maintain Web-based archives of submissions to the list. And, whilst Newsgroup news is only held for a short time on news servers, archives of many of these groups are also accessible from the Web (and sometimes from FTP sites).

Increasingly, the main Web search engines have options to search Newsgroups and occasionally email lists. Check out our Search Engine pages

 


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