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Common LISTSERV Commands


All discussion / mailing lists offered and maintained by the Library and Archives Canada run on a UNIX platform and use LISTSERV™ software (© L-Soft International, Inc.). Please use the following instructions and command structure for all of the LAC lists.

In these instructions, upper case is used to indicate commands, such as SUBSCRIBE, but since LISTSERV is not case-sensitive, you can use lower case as well. Italics are used to indicate variables such as LISTNAME, where you would enter the appropriate LAC listname.

It is important that you send messages to LISTSERV from a properly configured electronic mailbox, since LISTSERV will pick up your email address based on those coordinates. The successful transmission of future commands and postings to and from LISTSERV is dependent on the user's initial subscription.

Subscribing to a list

To subscribe to any LAC discussion / mailing list, send LISTSERV the following email message:


To: LISTSERV@listserv.lac-bac.gc.ca
Subject: (Leave this line blank)
Message: SUBscribe LISTNAME YourFirstName YourLastName


Posting messages to a list

Once subscribed, you may post email messages to all members of the list by using a special address:


To: LISTNAME@listserv.lac-bac.gc.ca
Subject: Hello out there!
Message: I would like to introduce myself as a new member of the group...


Contacting the List Owner

When you have questions or problems that are not appropriate to post to the entire membership of a list, or when a command to LISTSERV is not sufficient, rest assured that there is a human being that you can contact! Every LAC list has a List Owner who can be reached via email:


To: LISTNAME-REQUEST@listserv.lac-bac.gc.ca
Subject: Help!
Message: I have a question about this list...


Note: Although they look similar, the above three email addresses are distinct and are used for different purposes -- commands to LISTSERV, postings to lists, and requests to List Owners, respectively.

Common LISTSERV Commands

Once you are subscribed to a list, it is possible for you to obtain information, archive files, or customize certain options to suit your needs. This is done by sending LISTSERV the appropriate commands, properly formatted so that they can be processed by the computer. All commands should be in the body of the message (starting on the first line), and not in the subject field (which should always be left blank). The correct LISTSERV email address for all LAC lists is: listserv@listserv.lac-bac.gc.ca.

Common LISTSERV commands and their use are listed below:

SIGNOFF LISTNAME
to remove your name from the list

INFO LISTNAME
to obtain information about the list

GET LISTNAME WELCOME
to obtain a copy of the Welcome message for the list

SET LISTNAME NOMail
this will stop postings from being sent to you until you reset your status -- please use this when you go on holidays or will not be reading your email regularly

SET LISTNAME Mail
this will reset your NoMail status and allow you to begin receiving messages from the list again

SET LISTNAME DIGest
to receive one message per day that contains all the daily postings to the list

SET LISTNAME ACK
to receive a system-generated acknowledgment each time you post a message to the list

SET LISTNAME NOACK
to not receive acknowledgments each time you post to the list (this is the default)

SET LISTNAME REPro
to receive "carbon copies" of messages that you post to the list

SET LISTNAME NOREPro
to not receive copies of what you post to the list (this is the default)

INDex LISTNAME
to obtain an index of monthly archival notebook logs containing what has been posted to the list

GET LISTNAME LOG YYMM
to retrieve a monthly log file from the list archive -- specify which year and month by replacing the YY and MM (e.g., GET LISTNAME LOG9608 will retrieve the log file for August 1996)

REVIEW LISTNAME
to obtain a list of non-concealed subscribers to the list, as well as the list header parameters

SET LISTNAME CONCEAL
to conceal your name and email address from anyone using the REVIEW command for that list

HELP LISTNAME
to obtain a short list of common LISTSERV commands

INFO REFCARD
to obtain a comprehensive listing of LISTSERV commands


LAC Discussion / Mailing Lists