LISTSERV at the University of Georgia
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Getting Started with Web-Based LISTSERV

Participation in LISTSERV discussion groups, as well as management of these discussion groups, has made its way to the World Wide Web. As an enhancement (not a replacement) to the traditional e-mail communication with LISTSERV, you can now join or leave a list, request a new list, and manage lists you own at

Understanding the LISTSERV Password

On the UGA LISTSERV website, there is an item called "Registering Your LISTSERV Password." As either a list subscriber or a list owner, you should go ahead and register a LISTSERV password before using the site. This password is associated with your e-mail address and can (and probably should be) different from the password you use to read your mail.

As a subscriber, you will be asked for this password whenever you wish to work with private lists that you are subscribed to. This includes browsing, searching, and changing subscription options.

As a list owner, you will be asked for this password whenever you wish to work with lists that you own. This includes adding and deleting subscribers, or changing the list configuration.

Please keep the following in mind regarding LISTSERV passwords:

  • As a list subscriber, the e-mail address associated with your password must correspond to the e-mail address you used to subscribe to the list if you wish to manage your subscription through the WWW interface. If you are subscribed with different e-mail addresses, you will have to have multiple LISTSERV passwords to work with the lists you are subscribed to.

  • As a list owner, the e-mail address associated with your password must correspond to the e-mail you used as the list owner if you wish to manage a list through the WWW interface. If you own multiple lists with different owner e-mail addresses, you will need multiple LISTSERV passwords.

  • You will probably find it convenient to have LISTSERV store your password in a cookie, unless you often need to switch e-mail addresses or share your computer with others.

List Archives and the Web

If you select "Browse, Subscribe, Post, Search ..." on the Listserv home page, you'll see a limited selection of lists to choose from. There are several reasons for this:
  • Existing list archives are not automatically web-enabled, and only archives with web access are shown.
    Existing lists are automatically enabled for web administration, but must be specifically enabled for archive access by the Listserv administrator.
    • We haven't enabled existing archived lists (those created before March 1, 2000) because
      • The list owners may not want web archives for specific lists
      • The list owners should consider whether the list's settings provide the desired level of access (see below) before enabling web archives.
    • Since March 1, 2000, when new lists are created, the request form will allow the owner to request web archives and set access levels.
    • You can request web-enabled archives for an existing list here
  • Confidential lists are not listed
    Many UGA lists are 'Confidential': that is, the list name is not published in search lists. The archives can still be accessed (assuming they are web-enabled and you're authorized to access them), but you must know the list name, and type it into the "List Name" box on the left side of the page.
List owners should consider both the Confidential (whether the name is published) and access-level (whether the general public or just subscribers can access) settings when web-enabling list archives.

Archive Access Levels:
The access-level settings determine who can access (browse or search) the content of the list archives. It is not tied to the 'Confidential' setting, which just governs whether the existence of the list is published. It is also not the same thing as posting privileges, which may be owner-only, subscriber-only, or public.

By default, the access level is Private, which means subscribers only. This makes sense in most cases, but can be changed if desired by coding the access level in the Notebook= header.
For example, if the archives should be available to owners only, the applicable header would be:
* Notebook= Yes,/home/listname,Monthly,Owner

See the List Owner's Manual for more variations on access levels.

Web-based List Administration

LISTSERV keeps two types of information related to each list:
  • subscriber information: the email address, name, and subscription options (for example, mail or digest) for each subscriber
  • list settings (also called 'list headers' or 'keywords'): all other information about the list, such as the owners, who can post, etc., are stored here.
The two types of data are managed differently on the web, just as they are via email.

Subscriber Information:

As a subscriber, you can join or leave a list, and find out or change your subscription options. You will find these features on the list's initial page, once you have selected the list in "Browse, Subscribe, Post, Search ...".

As a list owner, you can also view and update this information for your subscribers. Select the "Manage/Manage Subscribers" feature either on Listserv's home page, or on the list's initial page, once you have selected the list in "Browse, Subscribe, Post, Search ...".

List Settings:
As a list owner, from the list's management page, you can update any of your list headers using the "Edit List Configuration" feature. Yes, you can change the owners of your list yourself! Just do it very carefully. A simple typo can leave your list without a valid owner, and syntax errors can do even worse damage, such as wiping out subsequent header lines.

It is a very good idea to do a REVIEW of your list via email before making any changes in the headers: then you will be sure of having a current working copy of your list as backup if problems occur.

Consult LISTSERV List Keyword Reference for details on keyword syntax and values.
You'll see some lines in your list headers that are not documented, such as 'Created' and 'List_Affiliation' or 'Sponsor'. These are local administration settings: they're treated as comments by Listserv, since they do not contain an '=' sign. You can add your own comments, but please do not remove these.