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General Information About Discussion Lists

A discussion list (also known variously as a distribution list or mailing list) is a group of people sharing a common interest who communicate by email with the other members of the group as a whole.

An individual may establish a mailing list through creative use of the aliases mechanism of typical email software. However, some special software packages exist to allow more control and better management of mailing lists. The IUCr has installed one such package, known as mailman, which allows the creation and management of a number of discussion lists relevant to crystallographers.

Individuals may subscribe to those lists in which they have an interest, and receive the regular mailings from other members of the list.

In many cases, the discussions are archived, and made available for the public to read. However, individuals may only contribute to the discussions if they subscribe to the list.

Why email?

There exist other ways for groups sharing a common interest to communicate online: dial-up bulletin boards, Usenet newsgroups, Web conferencing software. In many cases, and for many individuals, these are ideal media. However, in many other cases communication by email is preferable.
Updated 30 March 2004

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