NEWSLIB: September 2006

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"Best Practices"
Best Practices: Copyright  Best Practices: Security
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NewsLib FAQs

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 evolve. 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

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 or via email to lyris at There is only one way to unsubscribe and that is via email. Read on for details. 

Subscribe via Web:
  1. Open browser to this URL:
  2. On right hand side of the screen, note “User Tools”
  3. Click on “Search for Lists.”
  4. Type NewsLib [Note: this list name is case sensitive] in the search string box; click on “Search” button
  5. Next screen comes up with: “newslib: The NewsLib Mailing List.”
  6. If you are not a subscriber and wish to subscribe to NewsLib, click on the “Subscribe” button.
  7. Complete the online form request; it will be sent to NewsLib’s list administrator, Carolyn Edds, who will consider your request. You will receive a follow-up email message from the listserver about your subscription status.

Unsubscribe via the web? No way to unsubscribe in this format. Use the email option.

Subscribe via email:
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:
subscribe newslib 

4. Send the message

5. Send another e-mail to Carolyn Edds at with your affiliation

Unsubscribe via email: 
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:
unsubscribe newslib

4. Clear your signature

5. Send the message

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
  1. Open your email software.

  2. Type our NewsLib email address in the "send to" slot:

  3. Type in an appropriate subject heading.

  4. Type your message.

  5. Sign your message and include your identification in the signature.

  6. Send the message. It will reach nearly 1,300 NewsLib subscribers

Unsubscribe from NewsLib
  1. Open your email software.

  2. Type our NewsLib email address in the "send to" slot:

  3. Leave subject line empty.

  4. Type  unsubscribe newslib 

  5. Delete your signature.

  6. Send the message.

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.]
  1. Open your email software.

  2. Type our NewsLib email address in the "send to" slot:

  3. Leave subject line empty.

  4. Type set newslib email=[your new email address] Note: Don't use [  ] and the text after email cannot have any spaces in it.

  5. Send message

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
Postpone messages 
(while absent)
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 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.

1. Go to 
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)

Archive Access via Web

1. Open browser to this URL:

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.

Archive Access via Email

Before giving protocol directions for searching the archives via email (NewsLib archives post Dec. 1999), there are some important considerations to keep in mind.

First, it is wise to use key words you are fairly certain that were used in NewsLib posts.

Next, recognize that the thread returned will *probably* be in date order (most recent to earliest)

Further, these messages returned will not be edited. That means there may be typos, duplications, and in some cases, indecipherably scrambled alphanumeric characters.

Finally, there is good news, an enhancement. When doing a sample search using "digitizing microfilm" as key words, the results were returned to my email box (fairly quickly) listing first an index of the subject fields of each of the 100 messages on this topic. Very helpful because some of the messages I could tell were not relevant by reading the subject line index. However, I could *not* select just the messages I wanted. This email search option is not that sophisticated. [Note: One could save the results to a file and then open it as a text document in an appropriate software application for further refinement.] Scrolling down I was then able to read the full text of the messages in the email. The file, as you might imagine was large, 500K.


1. Address an email message to: 

2. Do not enter anything in the subject line

3. Type this command in the body of the email: search newslib [search words]
[Note: do not include brackets around your search words]

Sample Search:
search newslib digitizing microfilm

4. Delete your signature and any other words in the email.

5. Send the message.

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)

  1.  Open browser to this URL:

  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. Click on any one of them to read.

    a. Note well that the “headers” are missing from the message display. Therefore, it is essential that subscribers posting to NewsLib include their full identification/contact information.

    b.  Note also that attachments pose a special challenge to NewsLib. Subscribers must be very careful about including attachments on postings to NewsLib. As a general rule it is not the best practice to include attachments in posts to NewsLib. The best practice is to first check with individuals to see if their email system will permit receiving attached documents.  This best practice should avoid sending unintentional and unwanted viruses, worms, and all manner of undesirable problems that might be hidden in attachments. 

    c. 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.

    d. [Note: the next comment is relevant only if you are reading messages on the web page.] Clicking on “attached” in the message does not open the document in any readable/viewable format.

    e. When given the option of opening the attachment or saving it, select the “save” option, but change to file extension to whatever is appropriate (.doc, .xls, .gif, .jpg), then save the attachment to your hard drive. Later you should be able to open the document in the designated software application.

NewsLib's Guide for "Best Practices"

Tone & 'Tude Content Signatures Defaults
Security Copyright Ethics Email Attachments
Subject Lines Announcements Job Postings Surveys
Requests  Vendors    

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. 

Finally, postings aimed at collecting mass or organized support for political and/or social causes are not appropriate for NewsLib. 

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).

Subject Lines: It's a good practice to use  descriptive subject lines in your postings to NewsLib. The more descriptive they are, the more likely the right people will read your posting. Take special care in avoiding outdated or inappropriate subject lines. When replying to posts, double check the original subject line. If the original subject line is misleading, retype an appropriate subject line for your message.

 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.] 

RequestsInter Library Loan (ILL) requests to NewsLib should carry ILL or REQ in the subject line, followed by the serial/publication title needed. It is good practice to confine ILL requests on NewsLib to emergencies or to titles unavailable through local inter library loan networks. Read the best practices for Copyright below.  

Copyright:           [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.

                                  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>.

  e. Purchase a current edition of  Information Today's Fulltext Sources Online. 

         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, Carolyn Edds.

Security: 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 message to the list, if appropriate. Also, it is wise to resist posting general warnings or rumors on NewsLib. [Note: Link to "Viruses on NewsLib" (May 2002) thread.] 

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 NewsLib would be to "close" the list. That is, force all messages destined for our list to pass first through to the NewsLib list 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 complete security. 

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?

  1. Control, reduce, or eliminate your email address book 

  2. Obtain and update regularly your anti-virus software on your personal computers 

  3. Keep in touch with your organization's in-house network administrator about suspicious emails 

  4. Follow good list subscriber behavior by keeping your postings concise and on topic.

  5. 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 AttachmentsAttachments 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)."

Ethics: Trust 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 administrator, Carolyn Edds.  

Job PostingsJob 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 Click on the link to Jobs and Internships

Announcements: It 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 give instructions for retrieving it in full. For conference announcements and job postings, send a brief message with an e-mail address for further information.  

NewsLib Articles

NewsLib Annual Report  (2004)
        [Note: for subsequent annual reports, check top of this page.]

Submitted by to The News Division Board
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, journalism educators, 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:

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 thereafter.


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  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:  

NEWSLIB STATISTICS (April 2004 data)

 Subscribers by kind:

  • 830 (68%) are "MAIL" subscribers; that is, they receive NewsLib posts
  • 194 (16%) are "NOMAIL" subscribers; that is, they are subscribed to NewsLib but do not receive posts (perhaps they are postponing messages while out of their offices.)
  • 180 (15%) are "DIGEST" subscribers; that is, they receive only digests of NewsLib posts
  • 13 ( 1%) are "INDEX" subscribers; that is, they receive only an index of NewsLib posts
  • 10 ( 1%) are "MIMEDIGEST" subscribers; that is, they receive only a "mime digest” of NewsLib posts
  • 1,227 is the total number of NewsLib subscribers as of April 22, 2004

 [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.]

International subscribers:   

  • 250 (approximately)

[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 designation.]

Message delivery success:

  • 96% of NewsLib messages are posted on the first attempt; the remaining 4% of the messages are reposted an average of 11.4 times before either successfully sent or finally rebuffed.

Message traffic:

  • NewsLib traffic ranges from 35 to 45 messages per week; the range increases when newsworthy events occur.


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.

Here are some comparative numbers of  NewsLib subscribers over the past seven years.

   TOTAL NewsLib SUBSCRIBERS (by year)

1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2003 2004 2005 2006
740 881 1,038 1,234 1,352 1,292 1,226 1,110 1,137


1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2003 2004 2005 2006
120 123 141 127 147 259 250 (estimate) 193

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)