ibiblio History: Mailing Lists

What are mailing lists?

Mailing lists are an email communication tool used to facilitate discussions and make announcements to a group of subscribers. Administrators can send emails to everyone subscribed to the list without entering each email address individually, and users can usually sign up for a mailing list by filling out a web form or sending an email to a registration address.

Mailing lists were very popular in the early 2000s and were often used by groups of people with shared interests to discuss and share information. For example, ibiblio powered mailing lists for people living in New Mexico who were interested in equestrian trails, people enthusiastic about rare tropical fruit, and those wanting to learn about Biblical Hebrew. At present, mailing lists are more common among businesses, organizations, and universities who need to make frequent mass announcements.

How do mailing lists work?

ibiblio uses GNU Mailman to manage mailing lists at lists.ibiblio.org. GNU Mailman is a free software built with Python that manages email lists and discussions. It also supports features such as topic filtering, multi-lingual support, and spam filters.

On lists.ibiblio.org, users can create and remove subscriptions and browse every list powered by ibiblio. Although many lists are no longer active, you can browse specific list archives to get an idea of what being on a mailing list would have been like.

Members receive announcements from the list administrator, but also have the option to send their own message to all subscribers. Usually, this is done by sending your message to (name of list) @lists.ibiblio.org.