Mailing Lists: Keeping Up With eLib
As mentioned in last issue's Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib) section, a wave of new projects has recently joined the programme. This now takes the number of projects to roughly 60, with the majority of UK universities, and many other research centres, organisations and companies, being involved in at least 1 project (some organisations have a stake in as many as four).
A consequence of this increase is that many people, either directly working within a project, or less centrally as a project deliverable tester or eventual end-user, are interested in how their project and it's supporting programme develop. Most of the projects overlap with other projects, in some cases very significantly. This leads to much shared interest in the same topics and issues. For example, many of the projects from across the subject areas are interested in copyright legislation as applied to electronic material, as well as Web-based charging mechanisms.
These shared interests can be explored at (physical and virtual) meetings, via the traditional method of email, and the more archaic methods of phone and paper. However, mailing lists come into their own when it comes to easily remotely disseminating and discussing interests such as those raised by the programme. Okay, mailing lists are simple beasts, and appear pedestrian when compared with IRCs or the Collaborate function within Mosaic. However, an email is still quick, can be kept as an (electronic) record or printed, and you don't have to be in to get them; with mailing lists, you can also send the same email to several thousands of people in one go.
And so to lis-elib. This mailing list currently has around 800 members, and serves as the main email list for the Electronic Libraries Programme. To give you some idea of the traffic on the list; the first month it was running (June 1995), 5 postings were sent to it; for the last full month (April 1996) there were 58 submissions. The list is used to:
- Make announcements of significant eLib project milestones/events, such as open days, launches, conferences, new project deliverables etc.
- Start discussions of how eLib projects/the eLib programme will satisfy the needs identified in the Follett Report/of the end-users of such systems.
- Start discussions of the changing IT environment in which the eLib projects are based.
- Post announcements of jobs in the eLib programme. With the new wave of projects joining the programme, many of these recruiting staff, and staff moving between projects creating vacancies from where they leave, job hunters are well advised to keep a close eye on the list.
- Anything else relevant to the eLib programme, or its component projects.
You don't have to be in an eLib project to join and participate in the list; if you are involved in an eLib project, you should be. Lis-elib is a Mailbase mailing list; this has the advantage of being relatively stable, quick to respond and easier to use when compared with other mailing list systems. Mailbase lists also offer some extra functionality...
Other features of lis-elib
As lis-elib is a Mailbase list, there are several additional features available to you:
- You can look and see who else is on the list.
- You can browse the archives. These are partitioned into monthly folders and the messages are "threaded"; this means that you can follow the thread of a discussion across several messages without having to wade through non-relevant emails. You can also sort the messages as they are displayed in several different ways.
- You can search the archives of the list.
Joining, contributing to and leaving lis-elib
To join lis-elib, send to email@example.com the email message:
join lis-elib yourfirstname yourlastname
To leave lis-elib, send to firstname.lastname@example.org the email message:
To contribute to lis-elib, send your contribution to email@example.com. Please:
- make it relevant in some way to the eLib programme, projects or an on-going discussion on the list
- avoid overlong email signatures
- quote URLs (in full) to any supporting Web pages/other internet resources. These will be made active when your message goes into the lis-elib hypermail archive, so people reading your message in there can click on the URL to go to the desired page/resource.
Other eLib mailing lists
There are several other Mailbase mailing lists connected with the eLib programme you may wish to consider joining, browsing the archives of or submitting to; a list of these is maintained at Mailbase. Amongst these, as of Mid-May 1996, are (with their descriptions):
- adam-news - a discussion forum for the ADAM project
- cousns - this is a list to support communication among member of COUSNS - the Committee of UK Subject-based Network Services. Members of COUSNS are the subject-based services from the eLib programme.
- lis-elib-edulib - this is a forum for librarians & others supporting users of networked information. Opened by EduLib: the national network of electronic library accredited trainers, the list will stimulate discussion on the skills required in the Electronic Library, exchange experience on training issues & report progress.
- lis-scope - a list for discussing the copyright and technical issues surrounding the Scottish Collaborative OnDemand Publishing Enterprise (SCOPE), which has been funded by the Electronic Libraries Programme to digitise documents for customised publication as undergraduate student readers.
- netskills-forum - Netskills is a national eLib-funded training project, to increase awareness of networked information resources within UK Higher Education. This list provides input to the Netskills programme and materials by supporting discussion between those involved in delivering and receiving network training.
- netskills-news - a general list to disseminate information and news about the Netskills Network Training Project.
- omni - a forum for disseminating news about the OMNI Project (Organizing Medical Networked Information), for discussion about the project and comments on the service provided.
- omni-collaborators - a list for news of, and discussion about, technical developments and issues affecting the creation by collaborating organisations and individuals of resource descriptions in OMNI (Organizing Medical Networked Information).
- sosig - this mailing list discusses the Social Science Information Gateway service and is used to post news about news about new developments and services on the gateway. It is hoped that the social science community will contribute with ideas and suggestions for developing the service.