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Author: Dennis Trinkle
Title: ListServs
Publication info: Ann Arbor, MI: MPublishing, University of Michigan Library
November 1998

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Source: ListServs
Dennis Trinkle

vol. 1, no. 2, November 1998
Article Type: Site Review
PDF: Download full PDF [47kb ]


Dennis Trinkle,, also contributed to this review.

Perhaps the most important electronic resource open to scholars and teachers at all levels is the ListServ, an e-mail function which is dedicated to particular topics and a self-selected group of users. Many of us belong to several such lists. In the field of History there are many relevant lists, most of which are maintained by H-Net.


H-Net is an international consortium of scholars and teachers committed to pioneering the use of new communication technology to facilitate the free exchange of academic ideas and scholarly resources. The H-Net project is hosted by Michigan State University and is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the United States Information Service.

H-Net's most important activity is its sponsorship of over one hundred electronic newsletters ("lists") edited by scholars in North America, Europe, Africa, and the Pacific. Subscribers and editors communicate through electronic mail messages sent to the group. These messages can be saved, discarded, downloaded to a local computer, copied, printed out, or relayed to someone else. Otherwise, the lists are all public, and can be quoted and cited with proper attribution. The lists are connected to their own sites on the World Wide Web, that store discussion threads, important documents, and links to related sites on the web.

H-Net lists reach over 60,000 subscribers in more than ninety countries. Subscriptions are screened by the list's editors to promote a diverse readership dedicated to friendly, productive, scholarly communications. Each list publishes between fifteen and sixty messages a week. Subscription applications are solicited from scholars, teachers, professors, researchers, graduate students, journalists, librarians and archivists.

Each network has its own "personality," is edited by a team of scholars, and has a board of editors; most are cosponsored by a professional society. The editors control the flow of messages, commission reviews, and reject flames and items unsuitable for a scholarly discussion group.

The goals of H-Net lists are to enable scholars to easily communicate current research and teaching interests; to discuss new approaches, methods and tools of analysis; to share information on electronic databases; and to test new ideas and share comments on the literature in their fields. H-Net serves all levels of teachers from kindergarten through graduate school and involves many different disciplines of the social sciences, arts and humanities. One does not join H-Net per se, but rather one subscribes to any number of the lists; there is no subscription fee. One merely has to have an email address, pick one of the lists below to which one wants to subscribe, then log onto:,

Once into the web page, pick the desired list, and then fill out a simple form. Once this is done, one is subscribed. The number of messages one receives from a list varies from list to list, and so one needs to be careful to avoid oversubscribing and getting flooded with messages.

H-Net's e-mail lists function as electronic networks, linking professors, teachers and students in an egalitarian exchange of ideas and materials. Every aspect of academic life—research, teaching, controversies new and old—is open for discussion; decorum is maintained by H-Net's dedicated editors. Our association also sponsors such a list:>H-AHC Association for History and Computing

Below are the H-Net lists related to history. To see what subscribers are saying, visit the Discussion Logs Center. These logs are themselves a valuable research tool and can lead you to e-mail discussions related to your topic of interest, and provide you with the e-mail addresses of others with similar interests.

To find out more about a particular list, follow the links below:

List Name & Description

  The following lists are also affiliated with H-Net