1. Description of Service

Maillist is changing! Please see Service changes for more details.

The electronic mailing list service ("Maillist") provides support for sending email messages to multiple receipients, and is often the ideal solution where requirements go beyond the group/list capabilities offered by many email clients.

Maillist comprises the following main elements:
Message Posting

Copies of messages sent to the list email address are sent to all subscribers, subject to configured controls. Controls include settings to restrict who is permitted to post, conditions on the message content - such as a maximum message size or whether messages identified as probable "spam" should be accepted - or what to do with message attachments.

If an outgoing message to a list subscriber cannot be delivered then the Maillist system will attempt delivery for several days. Subscribed addresses which repeatedly fail delivery and cannot be contacted by trying will eventually be removed automatically to enable posts to be delivered in a timely manner to all subscribers.

Message Archiving

Copies of all posted message can be added to a list archive. A public web view of the archive can be activated, and subscribers can also search and retreive messages by email.


Where lists are configured to accept this, users can subscribe to and unsubscribe from lists by sending an email to the list subscribe address.

Lists can be set to automatically accept subscription requests ("public lists"), to require moderator approval ("private lists"), or to block this feature altogether ("closed lists").

List Configuration

List configuration can be adjusted to suit specific requirements. All of the options described above can be controlled through list configuration. In addition, you can specify lists of additional email addresses allowed to post to the list; addresses that are denied from posting ("blacklist"); and list subscribers, moderators, and managers.

Options described here can be set through a self-service web page; A small number of additional list behaviours can be configured on request.

Create/Delete List

Many types of University member can request creation of a new maillist, and any list owner can request deletion of their list(s).

Maillist was first reported in the 1998 OUCS annual review and has undergone several revisions since then. The current system, based on Sympa, was launched in July 2014.

3. Service changes

IT Services is undertaking a project to redevelop the maillist service during 2013-2014. The project is planned to complete in July 2014, delivering the following benefits:

The service will be:

  • properly aligned with the stated needs of users
  • hosted on a resilient and supported platform
  • able to support the continued growth in demand for lists and additional features

The migration will means some changes in how list owners, managers and moderators use the system, and we will be engaging with them at various points during the migration both via local IT Staff and directly. The impact on list subscribers is expected to be minimal.

During migrations in July/August new lists will be created on Sympa whilst existing lists continue on EZMLM, so both sets of links are available above.

If you would like more information about the project please contact the project team.