NEWSLIB: September 2006
NewsLib FAQs NewsLib
Best Practices: Copyright Best Practices: Security Subscribe to or
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1. What is NewsLib? NewsLib, originally launched in September 1993, is now a "private" electronic discussion forum, available to all interested subscribers upon approval from NewsLib's list administrator, Carolyn Edds Carolyn assumed the list administrator's duties effective September 15, 2006. [Note: To read more about Carolyn's professional career, click here.]
2. Is NewsLib a moderated list? No, NewsLib is not a moderated forum. It is a "self-moderated" list. Subscribers are responsible for what they post. However, NewsLib is no longer an "open list" where anyone can subscribe; applications to subscribe to NewsLib are forwarded to the list administrator for approval. If there are questions about approval, contact the list administrator directly. Subscribers are expected to follow the "best practices" for list membership.
3. Who owns NewsLib?
NewsLib belongs to the users/subscribers. Please feel free to
participate. It is only through active use that a viable "virtual community" will
Strictly speaking, however, there needs to be a designated "list
administrator" to manage the routine procedures of the list.
Carolyn Edds is the designated list administrator. Her "snail mail" address, phone and fax
numbers are listed below.
Carolyn Edds, News Research
St. Petersburg Times
490 First Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
Phone: (727) 892-2249
Fax: (727) 892-8107
Email: riverat at ibiblio.org
4. Who hosts NewsLib? The mail list servers on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Our email servers host over 15,000 lists from all over the world, including NewsLib.
5. How does one pronounce NewsLib? Apparently there are at least two ways folks are pronouncing the name of our list. One way is using the "long i" in NewsLib (short for news library); the other way is pronouncing it with a "short i" as in liberty. This is one area, as list administrator, that I feel doesn't warrant a lot of concern. Regardless of the way it is pronounced, everyone seems to know what we are talking about.
6. Who may subscribe? This list is established for the news research community as a means of providing an opportunity where news librarians, online researchers, vendors, library/information science students, media archivists, mass media bibliographers, reporters and journalism educators can "meet" and discuss topics of mutual interest and issues relevant to their professions. Currently, there are over 1,130 subscribers to NewsLib from 30 countries.
7. How does one subscribe/unsubscribe? There are two ways to subscribe to NewsLib: via the web http://mail.unc.edu/lists or via email to lyris at listserv.unc.edu There is only one way to unsubscribe and that is via email. Read on for details.
|Subscribe via Web:
Unsubscribe via the web? No way to unsubscribe in this format. Use the email option.
5. Send another e-mail to Carolyn Edds at firstname.lastname@example.org with your affiliation
Unsubscribe via email:
8. What are some of the other NewsLib subscriber commands? Read on for commands using email, then further down for discovering commands using web.
Links to Other NewsLib Subscriber Commands (email)
|Post messages to NewsLib||
|Unsubscribe from NewsLib||
|Change/update your email address [Note: one must be sending the message from one's old email address before it can be modified or updated. Otherwise, contact NewsLib's list administrator in order to make the change for you.]||
|Change to "digest" mode||1.
Address an email message to
2. Do not type anything in the subject line
3. Type this command in the body of the email: set newslib digest
4. Clear your signature
5. Send the message
Address an email message to
2. Do not type anything in the subject line
3. Type this command in the body of the email: set newslib nomail
4. Clear your signature
5. Send the message
|Reactivate your messages (when returned)||1.
Address an email message to
2. Do not type anything in the subject line
3. Type this command in the body of the email: set newslib mail
4. Clear your signature
5. Send the message
9. What are the other NewsLib web commands available for subscribers? Read on for directions to postpone messages, receive messages in digest or index formats via the web.
Go to http://mail.unc.edu/lists
2. Then click on "list members."
3. Next, login with your email address. Press return. 4. Type your password if you have one. Press return. 5. Look at the top of the screen's blue tabs.
6. Click on "my account."
7. On the next screen you will see your subscriber status information. At this point you can update your email address.
8. You can as well on this screen note your "membership type" and change it if you wish.
8a. Click on the pop-down box to select: digest or index or "no mail." The later will serve as a "postpone" for your NewsLib messages. [Note: remember to return to your "membership type" later to select mail in order to start NewsLib messages flowing to your email address.]
9. Save your updated subscriber status settings.
10. Exit the program.
10. How can I search NewsLib's Archives? There are two ways for subscribers to search our list archives. Read further for details.
NewsLib Archives (from December 1999 to the present)
1. Open browser to this URL: http://mail.unc.edu/lists
2. On left hand site of screen is the Log In box
3. Click on “List Members”
4. A message will flash that you must long in; next screen offers a box to enter your email address; do so and click on the “OK” button.
5. The next screen requests your password; if you have one enter it in the box and then click on the “OK” button; if you don’t have a password, click on the “cancel” button.
6. The next screen will offer you a hyper link to NewsLib. Click on it.
7. This next screen offers subscribers a default to NewsLib messages.
8. However, examine the tabs at the top of the screen. You will discover the “Search” tab. Click on it. The default is to a simple search; you will also have the option of selecting the “Advanced Search” tab.
9. Note that ten or fewer “hits” will be displayed at a time; you must click on the “next” or “show more” buttons to view additional archived messages.
giving protocol directions for searching the archives via email (NewsLib
archives post Dec. 1999), there are some important considerations to keep
Address an email
message to: email@example.com
4. Delete your signature and any other words in the email.
11. Is there a way for subscribers to read recent NewsLib messages on the web? I postponed my messages while I was on vacation and I want to catch up. Yes, there is. Simply follow the instructions that follow. Recent messages from the past several months are displayed for easy reading.
To Read Previous Messages from NewsLib (via the Web)
NewsLib's Guide for "Best Practices"
|Tone & 'Tude||Content||Signatures||Defaults|
|Subject Lines||Announcements||Job Postings||Surveys|
Tone & 'Tude (Attitude): It is wise to recognize that our subscriber list is diverse. Not only is there a variety of different professions represented on NewsLib (news researchers, journalists, students, freelance researchers, and, of course, vendors) among our 1,130 + subscribers, there is a wide range of social, political, and cultural backgrounds. A respectful tone is valued.
Further, there is considerable tolerance among NewsLib subscribers for lively, even colorful and humorous debate. But, there is also a long-term understanding that postings should also be firmly based in a civil manner. Especially so when there are bound to be strong and perhaps contentious opinions held on highly controversial or especially sensitive topics. We can't always know in advance what they are, so, courtesy rules.
postings aimed at collecting
Content: NewsLib supports the right of all subscribers to post timely, accurate, brief messages relevant to topics of interest to this particular list. As with all forms of communication, fairness, accuracy, brevity and courtesy are valued.
Using HTML, Rich Text, or other encoded formats
in NewsLib posts is not a good practice. The best practice is to post messages
in ASCII (plain text).
ASCII (plain text).
Lines: It's a good
practice to use descriptive
subject lines in your postings to NewsLib. The more descriptive they are,
Easily recognizable codes are useful in some subject lines. For example,
REF (for reference query)
REQ or ILL (for a special request)
JOB (for job opening)
SLA or NWS (for News Division and/or SLA subjects)
ANNOUNCEMENT (for product or meeting announcement)
Please note that typically it is not good practice to use all caps in your actual postings. To do so is akin to shouting. The terms listed above in caps are purely for illustration.
Signatures: It is essential that all folks posting messages identify themselves fully. That means complete and current signature files at the end of each message: include your name, title, affiliation or workplace, email and "snail mail" addresses as well as phone and fax numbers. A good practice is to limit your signature file, if at all possible, to four lines.
Vendors: Vendors of software, computer equipment, books, and online resources or materials vital to news research are welcome to NewsLib. However, we request that vendors of equipment or services keep their product announcements very brief (no more than 75 words including contact information) as a courtesy to all our subscribers. Subscribers may then be directed to a source for more detailed information. As always, if there are any questions about the appropriateness of such messages, please contact the NewsLib list administrator Carolyn Edds.
Surveys: Scholars, information & library science grad students, as well as news researchers themselves occasionally seek the collective wisdom of NewsLib subscribers. Research is important to us and we like to support such efforts. Usually, we are happy to oblige IF survey questions are very few and brief. If not, the best practice is to create a survey instrument on a web site and then alert our subscribers about the URL rather than include the full questionnaire or survey in the email. Please fully identify yourself and clearly describe the purpose of your survey in your message requesting NewsLib subscribers' help. Another good practice is to offer the results of your survey to NewsLib in some format, either a link to an article or the data analysis summary.
Default settings: When replying to NewsLib posts, remember that the primary default setting for replies is to the list, not the individual posting the message. If it is appropriate to respond to the individual posting the query or message, resist the impulse to hit the reply key. Instead, copy the individual's email address into the "send to" part of the header. [Note: NewsLib subscribers have discussed this default option before and while a few expressed strong preference for our list's primary default be changed to reply to the individual posting the message, the overwhelming majority affirm that NewsLib's sense of community requires that the response default should remain to the entire list. And so it has for the time being.]
Library Loan (ILL) requests to
NewsLib should carry ILL or REQ in the subject line, followed by the serial/publication
Read the best practices for Copyright below.
Read the best practices for Copyright below.
[Effective July 1, 2004]
A few preliminary points:
* Copyright laws and regulations vary internationally. NewsLib has subscribers from 30 countries. While acknowledging that there may be differences governing protection of a wide variety of copyrighted materials, our Copyright Committee believes that these policies are appropriate guidelines across borders.
* Should a NewsLib subscriber actually have permission to post copyright protected material on our list, a statement to that effect must be posted at the beginning of the post, e.g.,
"Posted with permission from the copyright holder, The Tatler Tribune."
Bear in mind that one must actually have requested and received permission to post this material on our list.
* It is permissible to post links to copyright protected material.
* These best practices will be posted on NewsLib's web site:
Finally, the purpose of these copyright best practices is to guide our NewsLib subscribers to honor copyright as fully and as fairly as possible.
COPYRIGHT "BEST PRACTICES" FOR NewsLib
July 1, 2004
[Note: In this study identifying "best practices" on copyright, the following NewsLib subscribers participated: Sherry Adams, Suella Baird, Gini Blodgett, J. Stephen Bolhafner, Michael Jesse, Amelia Kassel, Michael McCulley, Justin Scroggs, and Barbara Semonche, (former NewsLib list administrator). These "best practices" will become effective on NewsLib on July 1, 2004. Thereafter, the "best practices" will undergo periodic review. NewsLib subscribers' comments are always welcome, either to the list or to the current list administrator, Carolyn Edds.
1. NewsLib accepts posts requesting copyright protected material but with certain caveats. Please note the following carefully.
2. NewsLib is to be regarded by subscribers as a "court of last resort" for requesting copyright protected material. Dire emergencies may mitigate this limitation to a modest degree. If you want to know "how dire?" is dire, we'll answer, "That depends." Most of us would agree that we'll know "dire" when we see it. Such occasions will be rare.
3. Subscribers needing copyright protected material must first develop their own individual Interlibrary Loan (ILL) contacts off list. Perhaps these resources are not as free or as fast as NewsLib, but the alternatives listed below (items 4a - 4g) offer viable possibilities with relatively minimal cost.
4. Librarians and researchers should be able to justify these reasonable expenses simply as a part of doing business. It would be wise to alert news staffs and administrators about these forthcoming "best practices." As providers of copyright protected material themselves, they should be not only sympathetic, but agreeable toward supporting these new practices. Here are some suggestions for alternative access to sources of copyright protected material:
a. Requestors should seek out the policies, procedures and copying/delivery costs associated with ILL requests from public, academic, and government libraries. It may be possible to make arrangements with one or two of these sources to acquire a library borrowers card. That card, coupled with a part-time "gofer" to go to these public libraries, locate the material, and copy it, and return with it, should meet many requests for this type of material.
b. Negotiate with your organization's budget manager for a controlled limit credit card to be used by the librarian/news researcher
to pay for online documents.
c. Inquire about area document delivery service rates and response times. Determine what the costs would be for "deadline delivery" and off-hours service.
d. Invest in the News Division's Membership Directory. For $35 one can locate the contact information for many of the publications you need. It has a name and geographical index. [Note: SLA members automatically receive this directory. If you are not a member, the contact for purchasing a directory is Anne Holcomb, Kalamazoo Gazette, <aholcomb at kalamazoogazette.com>.
e. Purchase a current edition of Information Today's Fulltext Sources Online. http://www.infotoday.com/
f. Contact publishers directly for articles and offer to pay for retrieving and faxing copyright material.
g. Search for "limited use - lower rate" access to prime full-text commercial databases.
5. NewsLib insists that providers and requestors conduct their negotiations off list after the original post requesting the document(s). [Note well: avoid replying to the entire list by selecting the *forward* message option on your email software rather than the *reply* option. The reason for this care is that the "default option" of NewsLib is to the entire list; to avoid this, select the *forward* message option and type in the email address of the person to whom you are corresponding.]
6. Copyright protected documents are never sent to the entire NewsLib list without express copyright permission from the copyright holder.
7. Acknowledgement of receipt of material is necessary so that other NewsLib subscribers avoid continuing the search. However, no mention of who provided the documents is allowed.
8. If there are special questions or circumstances involving the request of copyright protected material on NewsLib, consult with the list administrator,
It is not good practice to post virus, worm, or hoax
warnings on NewsLib. Send these
alerts to NewsLib's list administrator who will verify the information and post a warning
It has been reported that viruses, worms, etc., infect NewsLib through the infected computers of our NewsLib subscribers. Not all of our subscribers have virus infected computers, but some do and this is at the crux of the problem.
The quick, easy, yet unduly harsh way to prevent these virus-infected messages from being posted to
be to "close" the list. That is, force all messages destined for our list to pass first through to the
administrator and her list's virus protectors and spam filters. That means the
list administrator would have to approve/disapprove
all messages addressed to NewsLib, an undoubtedly burdensome task for a
list as large and with as much traffic as ours. However, even this method could not guarantee
Another possibility is raised. Why can't the list administrator require all new subscribers to get approval from the list administrator before being allowed to subscribe to NewsLib? That's what we are doing now. While this policy seems to have reduced the number of virus attacks, it has not eliminated them.
Be advised that the UNC-CH campus network list managers are aware of these problems and are doing everything possible to provide a safe, secure email environment. They can do a lot, but they cannot do everything to guarantee our computers health and security. For example, NewsLib subscribers with home computers and frequently swap/forward files and messages between home and office computers. Unaware, users can infect both machines and our list. Ergo, the best approach is to get and update anti-virus software on your machines. You can find such applications on the web. More than a few good ones are free.
What else can be done? For now, the first step is for each and every one of NewsLib's 1,130 + subscribers to check if they have NewsLib's list email address in their email address book file. If so, delete it. Keep NewsLib's email address out of your electronic address books. Keep it handy elsewhere, but not in your email address book.
What are some other best practices in anti-virus protection?
Control, reduce, or eliminate your email address book
Obtain and update regularly your anti-virus software on your personal computers
Keep in touch with your organization's in-house network administrator about suspicious emails
Follow good list subscriber behavior by keeping your postings concise and on topic.
Avoid sending attachments to NewsLib (or any other email discussion list. [Note: contact individual first to see if attachments are accepted. Read more about the best practices for email attachments below.]
Email Attachments: Attachments to email messages pose a special challenge to NewsLib, indeed, to all electronic discussion lists. The best practice is not to attach documents, images, pdfs to emails. As a general rule it is probably wise not to include any attachments in posts to NewsLib; we are simply trying to avoid viruses, worms, and all manner of undesirable problems that might be hidden in attachments. Should an email to the NewsLib list come with an attachment, the best practice is not to open it. Delete the message.
If it is deemed essential to post an email with an attachment to an individual, the best practice is to check first with the individual(s) to see if their email systems will permit receiving attached documents.
However, on those rare occasions when subscribers may need to open NewsLib attachments, they need to be informed about the particular format of the attachment for example (.doc, .xls, .gif, .jpg). For more information about email attachments, scroll up to the section "To Read Previous Messages from NewsLib (Web)."
and credibility are the hallmarks of news researchers. As core participants in
journalism, we understand, accept, and follow the basic tenants of our
profession. With respect to NewsLib, subscribers are expected to
understand, accept, and follow the best practices as outlined in this document.
Any questions, comments, or challenges should be address to the list
Job Postings: Job or internship postings are accepted for positions of interest to NewsLib's subscribers. We request that they be brief, no more than 75 words and that the subject line includes the word JOB or INTERNSHIP. The full announcement should be posted on the News Division's web site http://www.ibiblio.org/slanews/ Click on the link to Jobs and Internships.
is not good practice to forward long posts (long is defined as more than
75 words including contact information) to NewsLib. Describe the document
(announcement) briefly and
Link to Factiva's "Content Communities" featuring NewsLib 2002
Submitted by to The News
By Barbara Semonche,
NewsLib list administrator (September 1993 - September 2006)
April 29, 2004
NewsLib, an electronic discussion list hosted on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus server, was launched on September 15, 1993. The primary purpose of establishing such a list was to provide a digital communication forum for members of the News Division of the Special Libraries Association and all others interested in news research.
Within a year subscribers exceeded 100 and represented the
special interests of not only News Division members, but other news researchers, journalists,
students, freelancers, vendors, as well as librarians from public and academic
libraries, and not-for-profit organizations. NewsLib subscribers, as of April
22, 2004, number 1,227.
Perhaps the most significant change since NewsLib was
launched as an open, publicly accessible list, was the recent decision to shift
to a private format. That shift came as a result of the invasion of the Klez
worm in May 2002 that bombarded NewsLib (and many other lists) with fraudulent
messages. Now persons wishing to subscribe to NewsLib can no longer do so
without approval from the list administrator. More details about NewsLib's
history, protocols, best practices, etc., may be found at this URL: http://www.ibiblio.org/slanews/about/newsliblyris.html
This year another shift in NewsLib policies and procedures
is expected. It addresses the best practices for request and delivery of
copyright protected material on NewsLib. A group of eight NewsLib subscribers
were gathered to assist the list administrator draft a document outlining how to
cope with requests for copyrighted material on NewsLib. That document will be
presented at the annual business meeting in June 2004 at the SLA conference in
Nashville. Comments and suggestions will be solicited from the News Division
members attending. The revised
draft will be posted on NewsLib in late June 2004 and put into effect shortly
NEWSLIB MIGRATES TO NEW SERVER (again!)
NewsLib is now offered via a new graphical web interface as
well as the earlier email format. Some of our subscribers are unable to open the
web access http://mail.unc.edu/lists/ because it originates from
port 82 which is a web port typically embargoed by corporate
firewalls. Subscribers from academic institutions usually have no difficulty
using that port. However, the
old reliable (non-graphic) email access is still offered for all subscriber
functions. For details, please consult this URL: http://www.ibiblio.org/slanews/about/newsliblyris.html
NEWSLIB STATISTICS (April 2004 data)
Subscribers by kind:
[Note that the number of how many subscribers (at any one time) are not receiving NewsLib posts is rather high. I speculate that veteran NewsLib subscribers might be suffering from email “burnout”. As NewsLib's list administrator, I must find a way to address this without diluting interest further. Upon reflection, perhaps this current situation is simply the reality of information overload. When subscribers really need access to NewsLib, they obviously know how to do it; otherwise, they may just be lurking. Which seems to be characteristic of many email lists.]
[Note that an exact figure cannot be determined currently
because increasingly non-USA commercial email providers are opting for the
".com" designation in email addresses rather that the usual country
Message delivery success:
Early NewsLib archives (Sept. 1993 to Dec. 1999) are not accessible for searching.
NewsLib archives from Dec. 1999 forward are
searchable via web or email protocols. Subscribers can find detailed
instructions on search techniques at this URL:
The early NewsLib archives present complications. It seems
that rarely is there a list as long-lived as ours with such a huge number of
archived messages. Add to that the fact that every time NewsLib migrates to a
new server (at least five times in 10 years) our early archives (pre-Dec. 1999)
archives get "lost." This last time the NewsLib list
administrator was just able to retrieve them from the campus list manager who
was about to dump them without an alert. We've yet to uncover
a way to open them and make them searchable.
The News Division of SLA celebrated its 75th anniversary in 1999. While this Division claims a long and distinguished history, NewsLib is a newcomer. It isn't even the first electronic discussion list for our Division. J-FORUM has that honor. J-FORUM was the bulletin board brainchild of Pete Basofin and Nora Paul. Nora launched the prototype on CompuServe in the late 1980s. Despite strong promotional efforts, J-FORUM did not enlist widespread participation from our News Division members. Fewer than 20 members signed on. A project ahead of its time, J-FORUM was discontinued after a couple of years.
In the summer of 1993, Pete and Nora urged Barbara Semonche, Library Director for the UNC-CH School of Journalism and Mass Communication, to undertake the responsibility of hosting a mailing list for the News Division on the Internet. The academic computing facility on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, SunSITE (in 1999 the host became MetaLab), agreed to act as the host listserver at no cost because of NewsLib's association with the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Another change in servers came on Sept. 6, 2000. MetaLab became iBiblio. The latest change is to Lyris in December 2002.
NewsLib made it debut on September 15, 1993. For the next few months the number of subscribers inched toward 25. Announcements about NewsLib and how to subscribe were published in NewsLibraryNews. By the time of the SLA annual conference in June, 1994 (Atlanta), the number of subscribers exceeded 100. NewsLib was on its way toward becoming a viable form of rapid, interactive communication not only for News Division members but for many others in related professional fields in the United States and internationally. NewsLib subscribers should know that this change in servers in the latest of six since 1993. The earlier servers were named: gibbs, ripken, SunSITE, MetaLab, iBiblio, and now Lyris. Undoubtedly there will be more changes in the future.
On Sept. 11, 2001, our NewsLib subscribers responded to the call for
information and data about the biggest, most devastating attack on U.S. soil.
Here are links describing NewsLib's response:
On Sept. 15, 2006, a new list administrator for NewsLib was appointed. Her name is Carolyn Edds She is a veteran NewsLib subscriber and an acclaimed news researcher. A link to her bio and contact information can be found here. Whatever changes NewsLib subscribers face in the future, Carolyn is the leader to navigate them successfully.
some comparative numbers of NewsLib subscribers over the past seven years.
TOTAL NewsLib SUBSCRIBERS (by year)
INTERNATIONAL NewsLib SUBSCRIBERS
I offer a deep bow to the extraordinary troops at SunSITE (and subsequently, MetaLab, and iBiblio and now Lyris) who are responsible for providing the technology to keep NewsLib running. We've had some exciting times (recall the avalanche of literally thousands of "cascading" messages in April 1996 flooding our email boxes?) and it was those talented people who kept the communication open then and the problems to a minimum ever since.
But I also want to salute the extraordinarily talented and generous news professionals (news librarians, media researchers, journalists, educators, and vendors to mention just a few of our national and international subscribers) who keep NewsLib vital and current with valuable insight, information and experience on issues and trends in this deadline-frenzied, data-driven, ethically-challenged profession of ours. Good luck and continued success to all of you in the years ahead!
Barbara Semonche, NewsLib list administrator (September 1993 - September 2006)