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LIS 610
Subscribing to Electronic Discussion Lists

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Description and purpose

Librarians have long used each other as valuable resources in providing information to their patrons. Today, interaction among librarians and other information professionals increasingly takes place through electronic discussion lists. Subscribing to LIS-related discussion lists will provide you the opportunity to network with information professionals throughout the global library and information science community. In this assignment you subscribe to two (2) electronic discussion lists of your choice by the third class session of the course. Once you have succesfully subscribed, send your instructor the names of the two lists you chose.


A listserv* is software that provides a service on the Internet that permits you to subscribe to a discussion group on a certain topic area. The discussion messages come to your own email account. You can read them, respond to them, and send your own messages to the list for discussion, or ask questions of the list members. Each list has its own rules, procedures, and "netiquette" that is usually emailed to you after you subscribe. Read these, save them, and follow them whenever using the list. This information allows you to control the timing, amount, and form of the messages you will receive.


Procedures for subscribing vary. Some lists require you to fill in an online form. Others allow you to send an e-mail to the server. In the latter case, follow these general instructions on how to subscribe to an electronic discussion list:

Selected Electronic Discussion Lists of Interest

Listed below are several electronic discussion lists of interest to librarians and other information professionals. There are dozens more on a variety of topics and domains (e.g., online catalogs, serials, acquisition, collection development, Internet training, Web-based library services, etc.). The Library of Congress provides a list of library-related listservs at: http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/bib/libsci/guides.html#listservs but this list is not well-maintained.

The descriptions and instructions below are quoted from the Web pages of the individual listservs.

Archives & Archivists List

The A&A List is an open forum for all topics relating to archival theory and practice.

New subscribers are asked to please read the Terms of Participation before subscribing to A&A. By subscribing, you agree to these terms.


  1. Visit http://www.archivists.org/listservs/change.asp and log in via your SAA profile. If you do not have a profile or if you are not sure, click on the link to "Find/Create an SAA Profile."
  2. Follow the instructions.

TO UNSCRIBE (or to modify your subscription settings):

  1. Log in at http://www.archivists.org/listservs/change.asp.
  2. Follow the instructions for unsubscribing.


  1. Visit http://forums.archivists.org/read/?forum=archives.
  2. Click on the subject of the message to read it.


DIG_REF is a forum for the growing number of people and organizations answering the questions of users via the Internet. From Ask-an-Expert (AskA) services to libraries, an increasing number of organizations are creating digital reference services to provide expert information and reference help. LIBREF-L is a discussion list for reference issues, especially the changing environment of reference services and activities.

DIG_REF seeks to bring together experts who answer questions, as well as librarians, organizations and associations dedicated to meeting the reference needs of their users via the Internet. The list will discuss all aspects of providing question & answer services over the worldwide network, from service creation and implementation to issues of services and quality. This list will also provide information on the Virtual Reference Desk project and developments in the field of digital reference.



GOVDOC-L is a LISTSERV(c)-based discussion forum about government information and the Federal Depository Library program. Many subscribers are librarians in and out of government, although private and public information producers are represented as well.