1. What Are Mailing Lists?

Electronic mailing lists allow groups of people with common interests to exchange mail quickly and easily. It is usually possible to achieve the same result with Usenet newsgroups, but a major drawback of newsgroups is that it can be difficult to set them up to allow private communications.

Mailing lists require specific software to manage the subscriptions, handle the mail, archive messages and so on. Unfortunately there are several different mailing list management programs, which are all slightly different. The ones commonly encountered are Majordomo, Ezmlm, Mailbase, Mailman and Listserv. Oxford uses the Ezmlm program.

There are a number of different ways in which one may communicate with mailing list software. Commands for subscribing, unsubscribing, requesting help and information on a given list and configuring a list can be sent in the To or Subject line of the email header or may be sent in the message body.

The method will reflect the particular sort of mailing list service being run, and the name of the site. If you are using the Oxford Ezmlm service then you will send all commands in the To line of the header.

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