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SSU Academic Email Lists (eLists) Information Site

In January 2011, the old Lyris 4.1 list server was replaced with the Mailman 2.1.11 listserver. The old Lyris lists were converted to Mailman lists when their owners requested it. Whereas old Lyris addresses were of the form listname@listerv.salemstate.edu, new Mailman addresses are of the form listname@elists.salemstate.edu

Jon Aske
This site is for the use of SSU faculty to learn about creating and using academic mailing lists using the Mailman academic list server at SSU.

If after looking at this site you have questions, please contact Jon Aske, the academic list coordinator.

If you do not have any questions and are ready to create a list, email me to create your list.

There are just a few things you need to know:

  • Only SSU faculty and staff, using a valid SSU email address, may request a list; the requestor will be the list owner, responsible for that list
  • When requesting a list, indicate the desired list's name (the part before the @ sign in the list's email address, e.g. listname@elists.salemstate.edu); list names may contain only lowercase letters, numbers, and limited punctuation: period, hyphen, underscore
  • After the list is created you will receive a welcome message with your list owner password (which you may change later)
  • You are expected to go to the administration web address in that message and make the necessary changes to the list defaults; for that you may use this quick guide
  • If you need help at any time, the contact person for all these lists is Jon Aske (Foreign Languages); feel free to email or call.

Mailman lists' addresses

List name list_name
List's email address list_name@elists.salemstate.edu
List's owner's address owner-list_name@elists.salemstate.edu
Subscribe (and see archives, and more) http://elists.salemstate.edu/mailman/listinfo/list_name
Unsubscribe (and change subscriber options) http://elists.salemstate.edu/mailman/options/list_name
Administer(where owners make changes to the list) http://elists.salemstate.edu/mailman/admin/list_name
Get list membership by email
for list owners
send to: list_name-request@elists.salemstate.edu
in body: who your_password


Since about 2000, faculty and staff at SSU have been using electronic mailing lists or elists (sometimes called "listservs") to communicate in a variety of ways.

  • Faculty use them with students in their classes to share information and encourage discussion outside of class (even people who use WebCT sometimes like to have a list outside the system)
  • Departments use them to communicate with different groups of students (majors, minors, alumni, etc.)
  • Faculty use them to communicate with each other (department faculty, part-timers, etc.)
  • Students use them to communicate with each other (e.g. clubs)

Lists can be of different types and you can choose different options to meet your needs. But the main thing to know is the difference between distribution lists and discussion lists.

In an announcement or distribution list, the list administrator(s) can send email messages to the list members, who cannot themselves send messages to the whole list (typically replies go by default to the original sender). In a discussion list all list members can contribute (and replies typically go by default to everybody, though not necessarily).

Creating a new mailing is very easy. Just give it a name and collect some email addresses. When you have that you just send that information to me and I will create the list the list for you and you will be all set.

Many of your colleagues are already using lists. Why not you?

-Jon Aske

What are electronic mailing lists (e-lists or "listservs")?

An electronic mailing list is a list of email addresses to which mail gets distributed (more information here at Wikipedia). Some people call them listservs, after the name of the first electronic mailing list server software application (1984) for Bitnet computer networks. Some prefer to call them e-lists, short for electronic mailing lists.

A database in a dedicated server is the intermediary between the sender and the recipients. The list-server keeps a database of lists and their members, along with other information about those lists, such as who is on the lists, who is allowed to send mail to each list, when and how people get the mail, etc.

The e-list server software at the college is Lyris 4.2. It was adopted years ago when some faculty belonging to the now dormant Online Educators Group lobbied for it after some faculty tried free Web-based versions at Yahoo and eGroups (now Google Groups).

Because of my involvement with the OEG, I was asked to manage academic lists on campus. IT still handles other lists for the administration, the administrative lists. Thus, if you have questions about ssc-community or the salem-msca list, please contact the IT help desk.

So, Lyris is a software program based on a server that has a database of lists. The particular database that we use is the Academic Database and all the lists have listserv as part of the email address: listname@listserv.salemstate.edu. When mail is received by Lyris sent to listname@listserv.salemstate.edu it distributes the mail to all the members of that list.

What lists can be used for

For faculty: In Foreign Languages we have several listsm for instance: languagefaculty (for all full-time faculty), languageinstructors (for full-time and part-time faculty), languageadjuncts (part-time faculty), spanishfaculty, spanishinstructors, etc., etc

For classes: Especially in advanced classes this is a good way to share information and have some discussions. How does this compare with the bulletin board capabilities of WebCT?

For student constituencies: in Foreign Languages we have spanishmajors, spanishminors, mat-spanish, etc.

For clubs: We have lists for our different language clubs, for community Spanish news and discussion: frenchclub, spanishclub, castellano, etc.

Types of lists

There are two basic types: announcement lists, where only some people can post messages to the list, and discussion lists, in which every member of the list can post messages to the list.

Discussion lists can be moderated, that is all messages sent to the list are intercepted and must be approved by a list administrator, or unmoderated: any message sent to the list will be automatically and immediatelly distributed to the list members.

There are different methods for adding and removing members from the list. Members may add themselves by going to a specific web page, or they may be added by a list administrator. In the former case you may password protect the self-enrollment process so that interlopers do not get into the list (only people to whom you give the password will be able to sign up).


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Page URL: http://lrc.salemstate.edu/aske/elists/index.htm
Last updated: January 10, 2011