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A Biologist's Guide to Internet Resources (2 of 6)

( Part1 - Part2 - Part3 - Part4 - Part5 - Part6 )
[ Usenet FAQs | Web FAQs | Documents | RFC Index | Neighborhoods ]
Archive-name: biology/guide/part2
Last-modified: 10 November 1993

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
-*- 2. Networking

    The Internet has become an excellent place in which to look for academic
    and professional job announcements, conference announcements and calls
    for papers, and important notices about recent events in many fields of
    biology.  Generally, notices of all forms appear on the Internet well in
    advance of traditional journals and newsletters.  Scientific interest
    groups, both formal and informal ones, maintain electronic discussion
    groups, directories, digests and newsletters.  These resources are
    distributed in three principal ways:  via Usenet newsgroups, (automated)
    listserver mailing lists, and mailing lists administered by real people. 
    Increasingly, the two forms of mailing list have "gateways" connecting
    them with Usenet newsgroups.  

-*- 2.1. Netiquette

    The professionally-oriented newsgroups and mailing lists follow certain
    conventions of etiquette.  These are none other than those used by most
    people at public events such as academic conferences.  In fact, most of
    the science-related newsgroups (and mailing lists) are very much like
    mid-sized meetings of any professional society, except that they never
    end.  The participants come and go as they please, but the discussion
    and exchange of ideas and information continues.

    Submitted articles tend to be of the following types:

    - Discussions on topics of general interest.  Discussions on specific
      topics, techniques, or organisms are also frequent.

    - Announcements of upcoming conferences or other events, calls for papers
      or grant proposal deadlines.  In Usenet, announcements can be set to
      expire (and thus disappear from the list of current articles), and may
      be limited in their distribution so that they are seen only by readers
      in the appropriate organization or geographical area (Beware, this
      feature is often leaky;  see section 2.2, Usenet). 
    - Academic and professional job announcements, including many graduate
      fellowships.  These are generally posted in newsgroups/mailing lists
      reserved for such notices, often in advance of publication elsewhere.

    - Reports or comments on new books, papers, methods or software.  Full
      citation of sources is always appropriate and appreciated.  Requests
      for references or comments are also welcome and, when posed as specific
      questions of general interest, often lead to interesting discussions.

    Unacceptable articles include:

    - Commercial advertizements, political lobbying messages, and anything
      not pertaining directly to the topic or purview of the newsgroup or
      mailing list.  Discussions about some commercial products, especially
      books and software, are generally allowed as long as they do not
      constitute advertisements.

    - Requests by students for explicit answers to homework and exam or essay
      questions are generally not welcome.  Requests for help understanding
      problems in biology are welcome, but the requester should demonstrate
      at least a basic understanding of the question.

    Some helpful suggestions:

    - Read before you post (look before you leap)

    Before posting an article for the first time, read the discussions for
    a week or so.  Look for an "FAQ" document that covers frequently asked
    questions (thus the name) before you make the mistake of asking one
    yourself.  FAQs are an excellent way to learn a great deal about the
    culture and resources of the Internet, plus a great deal more.  FAQs
    about resources are updated often (usually monthly), to stay current.
    (They are far more current than traditionally published books listing
    Internet resources!)  Each newsgroup or mailing list has its own unique
    character, that is built from the shared experience of loyal and active
    participants exchanging ideas and information over the course of years.
    - Always include your full name and e-mail address 

    Put these at the end of your message, with your usual signature.  You
    might want to use a .signature file (standard on most Unix systems, also
    implemented for Usenet and e-mail readers under VM/CMS) to make this
    automatic. This is necessary because strange things often happen to
    headers in e-mail or Usenet articles sent from one network to another.
    You may want to include your affiliation and/or mailing address, so that
    others can send you re-prints, and to help in networking outside of the
    Internet.  Traditionally, people do not indicate their status;  whether
    student or professor, Ph.D. or not, etc.  It is generally believed that
    the text-only nature of communication via the Internet allows people to
    form opinions of one another that are based more on intellectual merit
    than on other, perhaps more superficial qualities.  Either way, you have
    an unusual degree of control over what others can know about you, and it
    is to your advantage to use a .signature file that reflects you well.

    - Send private replies whenever appropriate

    Answers to very esoteric questions are often best sent directly to the
    person who asked for help, rather than to the newsgroup;  the choice of
    whether to post a (public) reply or send (private) e-mail is a personal
    decision.  If you send a reply by e-mail, and would prefer that it be
    kept private, you should say so in your note, because otherwise the other
    person may share your comments with others.  If the original poster
    promises to post a summary at the outset, then all replies should be
    sent by e-mail, unless they constitute an important re-direction of the
    original question.

    - Summarize the replies to your article
    Whenever a question or request for information results in many replies,
    it is expected that the person who posted the original article will
    compile and post a summary of the responses.

    - Use care when writing summaries
      - The "best" answers should come first.
      - All answers should be separated clearly, and nicely formatted.
      - Redundant, irrelevant or verbose comments, and errors of fact or
        spelling should be edited out.  It is appropriate to use square
        brackets and dots to indicate editing [...].   
      - Exercise discretion and tact, to ensure a fair and accurate summary.
      - Unless they asked that their names be withheld, the contributors of
        each answer should be named and thanked, individually or as a group.
    - Avoid starting nasty arguments or "flame wars"
      - Be generous when interpreting the arguments of others.
      - Avoid jargon;  write as though addressing an educated lay audience.
      - Avoid personal attacks on the honor or character of others.
      - Remember, the exercise will be good for you.
    If something you read angers you, save it for a few hours while you do
    something else (don't reply on an empty stomach).  Go back to it when
    you are calm and relaxed (and you have thought of a good rebuttal!). 
    If you simply must say something highly critical that is not confined
    to the subject under discussion (i.e., strays from intellectual argument
    into the realm of personal insult), consider sending it privately via 
    e-mail, rather than posting or mailing to the group.  And if you read
    something insulting to you, do not respond immediately;  give yourself
    time to cool off and think of a tactful (but also devastating) response.
    E-mail can be a powerful tool, but only if you use it well.

    - Be careful about quotations, citations and copyrights

    The Internet has grown to the point where it has become reasonable to
    cite documents that exist officially only in an electronic version on 
    the Internet.  And the issue of authenticity and version control has
    become extremely important.  Thus, it has become appropriate to express
    copyrights, and to specify within documents how they may or may not be
    used, both within the Internet and in print.  Please respect these
    restrictions, which are often very generous, and send the author e-mail
    if you have any doubts about the intended use of any Internet document.

    As a rule of thumb, you may freely cite or quote anything posted to a
    newsgroup or mailing list in that forum *only*.  For citations or quotes
    elsewhere, it is hoped, even expected, that you will first request express
    permission from the author, which is easy, given the author's e-mail
    address.  Although there has been a trend to cite specific articles posted
    in Usenet, it is generally satisfactory to use the "personal communication"
    formula, but for this reason you should request a specific, personal
    statement from the author that is directly relevant to and given in the
    context of the issue that you wish to address.

-*- 2.2. Usenet

    Usenet is a convention, in every sense of the word.

    Usenet is a system of organized "newsgroups" sharing many features with
    traditional newsletters, mailing lists and focused scientific societies.
    Usenet is Internet-based (although before the Internet existed it was 
    distributed via UUCP), and strongly developed so that end users need
    know only how to interact with the particular Usenet "reader" program
    on their computers.  Features of Usenet that make it far superior to the
    two types of mailing lists generally include the sorting or "threading"
    of all articles on a related topic, control of the distribution of
    posted articles to hierarchical levels (e.g., the author's university,
    state, country, or continent--but this feature may "leak"), the ability
    to cancel an article even after it has been distributed, and automatic
    expiration of dated articles.  To test any of these features, especially
    the distribution control, try posting an article to misc.test;  your
    article will receive "echoes" from other sites that receive it.

    Usenet is "free", but not cheap;  because it requires a lot of computer
    disk space, and a certain amount of installation and regular maintenance
    work by a system administrator, not all computer systems carry Usenet. 
    If Usenet is carried locally, it may still be necessary to prod the local
    Usenet administrator to add the bionet and bit.listserv newsgroups to the
    local "feed".  Usenet was created by two Duke University graduate students
    in 1979:  see Spafford (1993) for the definitive history of Usenet and a
    list of Usenet software for virtually every type of computer. 

    To paraphrase Spafford and Salzenberg (1992):  Usenet is *not* a network. 
    Usenet is an anarchy, with no laws and no one in charge.  No one has any
    real control outside of their own site.  Computer system administrators
    who distribute Usenet "feeds" to other sites gain some authority by virtue
    of being "upstream";  that is, they have some say over what newsgroups
    their "downstream" neighbors can receive.  Usenet feeds are stored at each
    site in "spools";  it is common for universities to have Usenet spools on
    one or two computers, and to allow everyone at the university to read 
    Usenet news via "client" programs that connect to the remote "news server".

    The particular configuration of the Usenet feed to your university or
    organization determines whether the distribution control feature of most
    Usenet posting programs will work properly for you.  For example, the 
    mailing lists for the bionet.* newsgroups are gated on the west coast of
    North America, and you might think that it is safe to post local items
    in a bionet.* newsgroup if you live elsewhere.  But many sites get their
    feed of bionet.* groups directly from the machine that runs the mailing
    lists, which is definitely outside your geographic area.  So your article
    will be distributed at your site, but will not be propagated from your
    site to any other site in your area if it must pass out of your region
    and then return through a separate feed to a university in the next city. 
    Furthermore, it is a more efficient use of network resources to get as
    much Usenet traffic as possible from the nearest site available.  It is
    important, therefore, to do a little research on Usenet feeds in your area
    before asking your Usenet administrator to add one of the newsgroup
    hierarchies listed in section 2.2.2, Special Usenet Hierarchies and Gated
    Mailing Lists.

    Usenet etiquette:

      - New users should read the Usenet FAQs posted in news.announce.newusers.

      -	Use the misc.test newsgroup for posting test articles.  Be sure to
        test the distribution feature here.  Do not post test articles to
        other newsgroups.

      -	Use the expiration feature for job and conference announcments.

      -	When posting to more than one newsgroup, use the cross-posting feature
	so only one copy of your article goes out, but is seen by many people.

      -	Post (and cross-post) sparingly to groups that have associated mailing
	lists, to give a break to people who must read the groups via e-mail.

    The cross-posting of articles to more than one gated newsgroup is strongly
    discouraged, since the e-mail subscribers will get multiple copies of any
    cross-posted articles.  Usenet readers should be aware of proper etiquette
    for mailing lists when posting to gated newsgroups.

-*- 2.2.1. Newsgroups of Special Interest

    An "F" after the newsgroup name indicates an FAQ is available.  "M" means
    that the newsgroup is moderated.  "G" means that the newsgroup has a
    gateway to a parallel mailing list:  see section 2.2.2, Special Usenet
    Hierarchies and Gated Mailing Lists, for details.

    alt.agriculture.*		    [2 groups]
    alt.bbs.internet             F  Announcements of new Internet services
    alt.cyb-sys                     Cybernetics and Systems
    alt.internet.access.wanted   F  Help getting full Internet access        F  Announcements of new Internet resources
    alt.native                      Indigenous peoples 
    alt.sci.*			    [6 groups]
 |  alt.earth_summit                Discussion of the recent Earth Summit
    alt.sustainable.agriculture  G  Sustainable agriculture   

    bionet.agroforestry          G  Agroforestry research
    bionet.announce            FGM  Announcements
    bionet.biology.computational GM Comp. and math. applications in biology 
    bionet.biology.n2-fixation   G  Biological nitrogen fixation
    bionet.biology.tropical      G  Tropical biology and ecology
    bionet.chlamydomonas	 G  Chlamydomonas discussion
    bionet.cellbio		 G  Cell biology discussion
    bionet.drosophila		 G  Drosophila discussion
    bionet.general              FG  General discussion
    bionet.genome.*              G  [3 groups:  Arabidopsis and chromosomes]
    bionet.immunology            G  Research in immunology          FG  Information theory applied to biology                  G  Job opportunities in biology
    bionet.journals.contents    GM  Biological journal TOCs
    bionet.journals.note         G  Publication issues in biology
    bionet.metabolic-reg	 G  Metabolic regulation and thermodynamics
    bionet.molbio.ageing         G  Cellular and organismal ageing     G  Computer searches of biological databases
    bionet.molbio.embldatabank   G  Info about the EMBL Nucleic acid database
    bionet.molbio.evolution      G  Evolution, especially molecular
    bionet.molbio.gdb            G  The GDB database 
    bionet.molbio.genbank        G  The GenBank nucleic acid database
    bionet.molbio.gene-linkage   G  Genetic linkage analysis.
    bionet.molbio.genome-program G  Human Genome Program issues
    bionet.molbio.methds-reagnts G  Tips on lab techniques and materials            G  The molecular biology of HIV
    bionet.molbio.proteins       G  Proteins and protein database searches
    bionet.molbio.rapd           G  Randomly Amplified Polymorphic DNA
    bionet.molbio.yeast		 G  Yeast researchers' discussion
    bionet.mycology              G  Mycological research discussion
    bionet.neuroscience          G  Research issues in the neurosciences
    bionet.photosynthesis	 G  Photosynthesis research
    bionet.plants                G  Plant biology, inc. genetics and ecology
    bionet.population-bio        G  Population biology, especially theory
    bionet.sci-resources        GM  Information about funding agencies, etc.              G  Software for biology, esp. free/shareware*            G  [3 groups:  acedb, gcg, and sources]
    bionet.users.addresses       G  Help locating biologists who use e-mail
    bionet.virology              G  Research in virology
    bionet.women-in-bio          G  Discussion by and about women in biology
    bionet.xtallography          G  Protein crystallography

    bit.listserv.biosph-l        G  Biosphere, ecology, Discussion List
    bit.listserv.devel-l         G  Tech. Transfer in Internat. Development
    bit.listserv.ethology        G  Ethology List
 |  bit.listserv.geograph	 G  Geography List
    bit.listserv.medforum	MG  Medical Students Discussion
    bit.listserv.uigis-l         G  User Interface for GIS
    bit.listserv.vpiej-l         G  Electronic Publishing Discussion List		 G  International Volunteers Discussion Group

    comp.infosystems.gis        FG  Geograpical Information Systems
    comp.infosystems.gopher      F  The Internet gopher access tool
    comp.infosystems.wais        F  The Internet WAIS access tool
    comp.infosystems.www	    The Internet WWW access tool            G  SAS Discussion
    comp.soft-sys.spss		 G  SPSS Statistical Discussion
    comp.text.tex                F  TeX, LaTeX and related text format systems
    comp.theory.cell-automata    G  Cellular automata research
    comp.theory.dynamic-sys      G  Ergodic theory and dynamic systems
    comp.theory.self-org-sys     G  Topics related to self-organization		 G  EMBnet news helpline for administrators
    embnet.general		 G  General discussion		    Network development discussion
    embnet.rpc			    Technical discussion of data transfers

    info.grass.programmer       GM  GRASS GIS programmer issues
    info.grass.user             GM  GRASS GIS user issues
    info.ietf			GM  Internet Engineering Task Force
    info.nsf.grants		GM  NSF grants announcements
    info.wisenet                 G  Women in Science and Engineering Network

    news.announce.newusers      FM  FAQs for new users of Usenet
    news.answers                FM  All FAQ documents
    news.lists                  FM  Statistics and data about Usenet

    sci.answers                GFM  FAQs pertaining to science
    sci.anthropology		    Anthropology discussion
    sci.archaeology		    Archaeology discussion                      F  General biology discussion		 G  Ecological research (sponsored by ESA)           G  Any topic relating to biotechnology
    sci.environment		    Discussion of environmental issues
    sci.geo.*			    [3 newsgroups]
    sci.image.processing	 F  Scientific image processing
    sci.nonlinear                   Nonlinear dynamical systems	    Discussion of research careers in science
    sci.stat.consult		 G  Statistical consulting		 G  Journal of Statistics Education List
    sci.stat.math		    Mathematical statistics
 |  sci.techniques.xtallography     Crystallography techniques
    sci.*			    [60 other newsgroups]

-*- 2.2.2. Special Usenet Hierarchies and Gated Mailing Lists

    There has been a growing trend in the past few years to set up transparent
    "gateways" between mailing lists and newsgroups, and to create Usenet
    newsgroup hierarchies that are outside the "main stream".  Both being new,
    these two trends often go together.

    None of the Usenet newsgroup hierarchies mentioned below are main-stream
    ones;  that is, they do not conform to all Usenet conventions, and
    consequently are carried by no more than 30-50% of Usenet sites.  This is
    not necessarily a bad thing, since few or no readers at most sites are
    biologists, and e-mail subscriptions are available for many groups.  If
    your site carries Usenet, but not these hierarcies, a simple request to
    your Usenet administrator might be all that's needed to get them too. 
    But see the first part of section 2.2, Usenet, for details about what to
    ask for.


    Each of these newsgroups has two gateways to mailing lists, to save on 
    trans-Atlantic transmission costs.  For an e-mail subscription to any
||  bionet.* newsgroup, if you live in the Americas or the Pacific Rim,
||  send e-mail to with the text `help' (leave the
||  Subject line blank;  this is an automated server).  If you live elsewhere,
||  send e-mail to (a person will respond).  Brief
    descriptions of some of these groups are given in the BIOSCI FAQ, posted
    in bionet.announce and available on in the directory
    /pub/BIOSCI/ or by e-mail from the BIOSCI staff at


    As their names imply, the bit.listserv newsgroups started out as (and
    remain) automated mailing lists.  Most of these mailing lists became
    so successful that gateways to Usenet were added by popular demand. 
    The Appendix includes 100 or so other mailing lists, most run via the
    LISTSERV program, of interest to biologists;  those mailing lists with
    Usenet gateways are listed in section 2.3.3, Gateways to Usenet. 
    Charters for each of these groups can be obtained from the listserver
    that administers each one.  See sections 2.3, Mailing Lists Using 
    LISTSERV, and 2.3.1, Commands, for details about e-mail subscriptions and
    commands for interacting with listserver programs.


    Send e-mail to Erik Fair,, or see the list of mailing
    lists posted in news.answers for details about e-mail subscriptions.


    The European Molecular Biology Network (EMBnet) runs a group of Usenet
    newsgroups that are distributed in Europe.  E-mail subscriptions are 
    available from, and these newsgroups can be
 |  read and searched via gopher and WAIS on  Send general
    e-mail queries to 


    These groups are mailing lists with gateways to Usenet at the University
    of Illinois.  See section 2.4, Other Mailing Lists, for e-mail subscription
    information, or ask your local Usenet administrator to get these groups.

-*- 2.2.3. Usenet FAQs about Usenet

    You are strongly encouraged to read the following introductory and
    etiquette FAQs before posting any messages to any newsgroup.  They are
    what might be considered the "mandatory course" for new users, and
    are posted frequently in the Usenet newsgroup news.newusers.announce.

    See section 4, Useful and Important FAQs, for a list of additional FAQs
    of general use or interest to biologists, section 4.1, What's an FAQ and
    where can I get one?, and sections 3.6.2 and 3.6.3 for instructions on
    how to get copies by anonymous FTP or e-mail if you don't have access
    to a Usenet reader.

               Title                            Archive filename

		Introductory information (recommended reading)

    What is Usenet?                             what-is-usenet/part1
    Answers to Frequently Asked Questions       usenet-faq/part1
        about Usenet
    Introduction to news.announce		news-announce-intro/part1

		Etiquette (strongly recommended reading)

    A Primer on How to Work With the            usenet-primer/part1
        Usenet Community
    Emily Postnews Answers Your Questions       emily-postnews/part1
        on Netiquette
    Hints on writing style for Usenet           usenet-writing-style/part1
    Rules for posting to Usenet                 posting-rules/part1

			Technical issues

    How to Create a New Usenet Newsgroup        creating-newsgroups/part1
    USENET Software:  History and Sources       usenet-software/part1
    How to become a USENET site                 site-setup
    NetNews/Listserv Gateway Policy             bit/policy	
    UNIX BBS Software FAQ with Answers          unix-faq/bbs-software
    Introduction to the news.answers		news-answers/introduction
    Instructions for posting to news.answers	news-answers/guidelines

			Resource listings

    Mailing Lists Available in Usenet		mail/news-gateways/part1
    Publicly Accessible Mailing Lists		mail/mailing-lists/part[1-6]
    List of Periodic Information Postings	periodic-postings/part[1-6]
    List of Active Newsgroups			active-newsgroups/part[1-2]
    Alternative Newsgroup Hierarchies		alt-hierarchies/part[1-2]

-*- 2.2.4. Usenet by E-mail

 |  Many people who do not have direct access to Usenet do have Internet
 |  access, and can read Usenet newsgroups via gopher (see section 3.6.4
 |  below for an explanation of gopher).  Gopher is fine for reading Usenet
 |  news, but doesn't allow posting to them.  Fortunately, various sites on
 |  the Internet will accept e-mail addressed to specific newsgroups, and
 |  will post it automatically.  Rob Harper <> in Finland
 |  offers such a service:  to post to bionet.general, for example, send
 |  your article via e-mail to  Naturally, using
 |  a good e-mail program you can insert the usual article headers (Reply-To,
 |  Expires, References, etc.), but you can also insert bad headers and make
 |  a mess of your post, so be cautious:  look carefully at the headers of
 |  other articles, and experiment by posting to misc.test.

-*- 2.3. Mailing Lists Using LISTSERV

    It is very important that you keep a list of all mailing lists to which
    you are subscribed, along with the address of the list administrator
    and the address you used when you subscribed, if you have more than one.
    This is because you will need to unsubscribe yourself if you go away on
    vacation or your address changes.  Otherwise any mail sent to you from
    the list may bounce or cause other, sometimes severe problems.  And it's
    easier to check the address etc. when you want to tell friends how they
    can subscribe too.

    The Appendix at the end of this guide includes most listserver mailing
    lists of particular interest or use to biologists.  Internet addresses
    are given whenever possible, and all addresses are in standard Internet
    format, with the exception that portions of the Internet node names that
    reflect original Bitnet node names are given in uppercase, for the 
    convenience of readers on Bitnet nodes.

    Listservers were developed first many years ago on Bitnet, when Eric
    Thomas wrote a computer program named "LISTSERV" that could act like
    a regular computer user:  receiving and sending out e-mail, and keeping
    files.  LISTSERV is now used on hundreds (170 at last count) of computers
    around the world, and a number of copy-cat programs with some similar
    features are used at many other sites.  Whichever program is used, these
    listservers are given the task of maintaining multiple electronic mailing
    lists, handling all membership requests (subscriptions and cancellation
    of subscriptions, and so on).  Many list owners collect monthly logs of
    all messages sent to the list, and some also provide files of other
    information.  Eric Thomas's LISTSERV program does this automatically, and
    listservers running this program can send "back issue" logs and other
    files on request.

    The author of one of the other listserver programs has unfortunately
    chosen to enhance his own reputation by using the same name as Eric
    Thomas's program.  This causes great confusion, as the other program 
    does not perform nearly as many functions as LISTSERV does.  Whenever
 |  known, those mailing lists *not* using Eric Thomas's LISTSERV code are
 |  listed in the Appendix, Assorted Mailing Lists Using LISTSERV, with a
 |  "K".  E-mail subscription requests for these lists must have blank
 |  Subject lines and no appended signature text.

    Mailing lists run by non-LISTSERV listservers are listed in section 2.4,
    Other Mailing Lists, together with mailing lists run by hand.  Other
    listservers include "mailbase" and "MAILSERV", both written for Bitnet
    nodes in Europe.  For documents about using mailbase, send e-mail to with the text

	send mailbase user-guide	for the lengthly User's Guide
	send mailbase user-card		for a short version of the Guide

    You can get an extensive topical directory of academic mailing lists,
    compiled by Diane Kovacs,  send e-mail to with the text
	get acadlist readme

    Charles Bailey posts a directory, Library-Oriented Lists and Electronic
    Serials, to the newsgroup bit.listserv.pacs-l on a regular basis.

    Mailing list etiquette:

      - Whenever possible, Bitnet users should use the Bitnet address of a list
        and its listserver;  Internet users should use the Internet address.

      -	Keep a record of your subscriptions, and a copy of any instructions
	that you receive with your subscription.

      -	Remember to unsubscribe or otherwise turn off your subscriptions
	before your e-mail address changes or you go away on vacation.

      -	Avoid sending articles to more than one mailing list.

      -	Be concise or, if your article is more than a few hundred lines long,
        warn your readers in the Subject line.

    A note for users on JANET nodes (in the United Kingdom):  you may be
    able to get subscriptions to Bitnet listserver mailing lists via  Send e-mail to that address with the text

	info ?

    for more information.  This saves electronic transmission costs by having
    a single subscription propagated across the Atlantic Ocean, and then
    re-distributing it to multiple subscribers in the U.K. and elsewhere in

-*- 2.3.1. Commands

    Being computer programs, with nothing else to do, listservers just sit
    and wait for e-mail to arrive, read it, and perform the appropriate task,
    usually immediately.  They respond only to a small set of commands.  A
    summary (Thomas 1993) of these commands can be retrieved by sending the
    message "send listserv refcard" to any listserver.  The main listserver
    is, but there are many listservers around the
    world.  Specificially, there is one on each computer for which a mailing
    list is mentioned in the Appendix.  Most listservers maintain more than
    one mailing list.

    To subscribe to any of these mailing lists, send e-mail to the listserver
    at the same address.  For example, subscriptions to the Smithsonian
    Institution's biological conservation list, CONSLINK, may be obtained by
    sending the message

        subscribe conslink <Your Name>

    to  To turn off mail from a list temporarily (e.g.,
    while you are away on vacation), send the message

	set <listname> nomail

    and to unsubscribe permanently (e.g., because your e-mail address is about
    to change), send the message

	unsubscribe <listname> 

    Send subscription and other administrative requests to the listserver, 
    not the list;  e-mail messages sent directly to the mailing list will
    (generally) be sent to all the list subscribers.  Only the listserver
    can process subscription requests, and the listserver only knows about
    requests that it receives directly.

    LISTSERV programs of version 1.7f and higher have a very useful feature
    that lets you receive a daily digest (actually a concatenation, with a
    table of contents) instead of many individual articles.  Send e-mail to
    the apropriate listserver with the message:

	set <listname> digest

-*- 2.3.2. Archives

    In addition to handling the membership requests for particular mailing
    lists, most listservers also archive all messages sent to each list in
    monthly log files.  These files, along with other items contributed by
    list subscribers, are archived by the listserver and can be retrieved
    by e-mail. keeps an archive of various lists of
    conservation organizations and field stations, several newsletters, and
    a large collection of bibliographic references relating to biological
    conservation. keeps an archive of job openings and
    conference announcements submitted to the Ecological Society of America. 

    Commands for retrieving files from listserver archives are described
    in the listserver command reference guide (Thomas 1993), and include:

        help				to get generally useful information
	review <listname>		to get the list of subscribers
	index <listname>		to get the list of archived files
        get listserv refcard 		to get a short summary of commands
        get listfaq memo		to get an FAQ about listservers

    Sending the message "info" to a listserver will result in a list of
    information guides including:

    REFcard    (LISTSERV REFCARD)  Command reference card
    FAQ        (LISTFAQ  MEMO   )  Frequently Asked Questions
    PResent    (LISTPRES MEMO   )  Presentation of LISTSERV for new users
    GENintro   (LISTSERV MEMO   )  General information about Revised LISTSERV
    KEYwords   (LISTKEYW MEMO   )  Description of list header keywords
    AFD        (LISTAFD  MEMO   )  Description of Automatic File Distribution
    FILEs      (LISTFILE MEMO   )  Description of the file-server functions
    LPunch     (LISTLPUN MEMO   )  Description of the LISTSERV-Punch file fmt.
    JOB        (LISTJOB  MEMO   )  Description of the Command Jobs feature
    DISTribute (LISTDIST MEMO   )  Description of Relayed File Distribution
    COORDinat  (LISTCOOR MEMO   )  Information about Listserv Coordination
    FILEOwner  (LISTFOWN MEMO   )  Information guide for file owners
    DATABASE   (LISTDB   MEMO   )  Description of the database functions
    UDD        (LISTUDD  MEMO   )  User Directory Database User's Guide
    UDDADMIN   (LISTUDDA MEMO   )  UDD Administrator's Guide

    To get any one of these, send the message "info <keyword>" where <keyword>
    is, for instance, "REFcard" or "FAQ".  Only the portion in capitals is

-*- 2.3.3. Gateways to Usenet

    Some of the listserver mailing lists in the Appendix below are also
    Usenet newsgroups:  is bit.listserv.biosph-l     is bit.listserv.devel-l       is bit.listserv.ethology
 |       is bit.listserv.geograph is bit.listserv.medforum (custom gate)   is bit.listserv.uigis-l       is bit.listserv.vpiej-l     is comp.infosystems.gis          is	  is comp.soft-sys.spss
 |      is comp.theory.dynamic-sys         is info.wisenet  is sci.answers (gate is group-->list only)         is          is          is sci.stat.consult	  is

    American University has established itself as the clearing house and 
    semi-official keeper of automated gateways between listserver mailing
    lists and Usenet newsgroups.  Questions about the procedure for
    establishing a gateway for any mailing list or newsgroup may be posted to
    the Usenet newsgroup bit.admin or sent to
    A FAQ on this topic appears regularly in the bit.admin newsgroup. 

-*- 2.4. Other Mailing Lists

    Remember to save any instructions you receive about unsubscribing from
    a mailing list.  Mailing lists that do not use listserv-style commands
    for subscribing and unsubscribing include: 

    Topic or name				Mailing list address
	Subscription instructions
    Arabidopsis thal. database announcements
	Contact Mike Cherry,

    Artificial life digest
	Send all subscription requests to

    Biological Anthropology, Primatology
	Send "subscribe humbio <Your Name>" to

    Biological timing and circadian rhythms

    Biologia y Evolucion (in Spanish)

 |  Biology information systems
 |	Contact Tim Littlejohn,

    Bulletin for bryologists
	Send e-mail to the owner, Jan-Peter Frahm,

    Cytometry discussion

    Dendrome forest tree genome mapping digest
       Send all subscription requests and submissions to the editor,

    Dinosaurs and other archosaurs
	Send e-mail to

    Discover Insight Biosym Users' Group 
	Send e-mail to

    Ecologia (in Spanish)
	Send e-mail to

    Entomology discussion
	Send e-mail to the owner, Mark O'Brien,

    Environmentalists digest       
	Send e-mail to the owner, Josh Knaur,

 |  Experimental Petrology
 |	Send e-mail with the text "subscribe exp-pet" on the first line
 |	of the body (not the Subject line) to
 |	For more information, contact Henry Shaw <> or
 |	James Brenan <>.
    Fish and Wildlife Biology
	Send e-mail to for subscription
        requests, etc.  Wildnet is also distributed via Usenet in the newsgroup (a.k.a. the ECOLOG-L mailing list).

    Forestry discussion
	Send e-mail to

    Genstat statistics package discussion
	Send "subscribe genstat <Your Name>" to
    GIS digest
       Send all subscription requests and submissions to the editor,    

    GIS Users in the United Kingdom
	Send "subscribe geocal <Your Name>" to

 |  "Green" travel and tourism discussion	[unknown]
 |	Send e-mail to Marcus Endicott <>, asking for
 |	a subscription to the mailing list.

    Killifish, Cyprinodontidae
	Send e-mail to

    Neotropical birds discussion
	Contact (Roberto Phillips)

    Neural networks digest 
	Send requests and all submissions to the above address.  Back issues of
	the digest are available via anonymous FTP on

	Send "subscribe orchids <Your Name>" to

 |  Peptide Libraries
 |	Send "help" to for subscription information.

 |  Plant hormones discussion list 
 |	Send "join plant-hormones <Your Name>" to

    Plant Taxonomy 
	Send "join plant-taxonomy <Your Name>" to

    Primate discussion
	Send e-mail to the owner,

    Prion Research Digest			[unknown]
	Send e-mail to

 |  RNA
 |	Send "help" to for subscription information.

    The S statistics package
	Send e-mail to

    SANET-MG Sustainable Agriculture Network
	Send e-mail with the text "subscribe sanet-mg" or "send guide" or
	"send catalog" to

    Simulated Annealing Mailing List (ANNEAL)	[unknown]
	Send e-mail with the text "subscribe anneal" to

    Society for Mathematical Biology Digest 
	Send e-mail with the text "subscribe smbnet <Your Name>" and/or
	"help" to  Back issues of the digest
	are available via anonymous FTP on in smb/digest/.
	The editor is apparently Ray Mejia.

 |  Yeast Artificial Chromosomes
 |	Send "help" to for subscription information.

    Young Scientists' Network
	Send e-mail to with the Subject
	(not text) "subscribe" or "send info".

    Volcano list
	Send all subscription requests and submissions to the editor,
        Jon Fink, aijhf@ASUACAD (via Bitnet) or

    Note, any mailing lists you may discover at or
    that are not explicitly mentioned in this FAQ are not mentioned *because*
    they are actually gated lists for the bionet.* newsgroups.  See section
    2.2.2, Special Usenet Hierarchies and Gated Mailing Lists, for instructions
    about subscribing to any bionet.* newsgroup via e-mail.

 |  There is a 6-part FAQ in news.answers (da Silva 1993) that includes
    brief descriptions of the charter of each mailing list.  This FAQ is
    stored in FAQ archives in the directory /mailing-lists/.

    A very long (1.2 megabytes) list of lists is available via anonymous FTP
    from in netinfo/interest-groups or (in compressed form)
    netinfo/interest-groups.Z.  It can also be obtained via e-mail by sending
    the message "send netinfo/interest-groups" to
    There is a printed, indexed version, titled "Internet:  Mailing Lists",
    that can be purchased from Prentice Hall.  However, this list is up-dated
    through submissions, and thus is incomplete and not very correct.

-*- 2.5. Newsletters

    Many of the mailing lists mentioned in the above section are actually
    digests, where readers' queries and comments are condensed into a
    single large document that is distributed periodically.  Yet another
    variation on this theme is electronic newsletters.  Those not listed
    elsewhere in this guide include:

    * Animal Behavior Society Newsletter.  Editor James C. Ha,

    * Bean Bag: Leguminosae Research Newsletter, edited by Charles R. Gunn
      and Joseph H. Kirkbride, Jr.,  Available
      via gopher and anonymous FTP from

    * Botanical Electronic News (BEN), edited by Adolf Ceska, Canada.
      Available via gopher and anonymous FTP from, and
      the wildnet mailing list.

    * The Chlamydomonas Newsletter.  E-mail subscriptions are available from
      Mike Adams,  You can also get this newsletter
      via gopher from and via anonymous FTP from in pub/chlamy/.

    * Climate/Ecosystem Dynamics (CED).  E-mail subscriptions are available
      from Daniel Pommert,, gopher access
      available via

    * Environmental Resources Information Network (ERIN) Newsletter, Australia
      Available via gopher and anonymous FTP from, and via
      the ERIN gopher on

    * Flora Online.  A journal for collections-oriented botanists published
      by the Clinton Herbarium, Buffalo Museum of Science, New York USA.
      Editor Richard H. Zander, visbms@UBVMS.bitnet.  Available via gopher
      and anonymous FTP from

    * LTER Data Management Bulletin (DATABITS).  Available via gopher on

    * STARNET Echinoderm Newsletter.  Send e-mail to the editor, Win Hide,

 |  * Titnet.  Notices of interest to researchers of Paridae and other hole-
 |    nesting birds.  Send e-mail to J. Hailman,
 |    WISCMACC on Bitnet), with your name and address (postal and e-mail),
 |    what species you study and what types of studies you do.

    The paper journal The Scientist is available via anonymous FTP on
 |, in pub/the-scientist, and gopher on

    Michael Strangelove, has compiled a directory
    of electronic serials.  To retrieve it, send e-mail with the text

	get ejournl1 directry
	get ejournl2 directry


	Una Smith

Yale University, Department of Biology, Osborn Memorial Laboratories,
PO Box 6666, New Haven, Connecticut  06511-8155

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM