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Email discussion lists for the UK Education and Research communities

List owner help documents

1. New: List owner's quick guide

The List owner's quick guide has been put together to help you, as a list owner, get to grips with the key tools you need to start using your mailing list..

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2. Introduction

A group owner is the owner and manager of a mailing list. It is the group owner's responsibility to:

  • Configure the group so that it has the required characteristics
  • Add and remove subscribers
  • Support inexperienced group subscribers
  • Deal with error reports: - owners should remove or track down bad email addresses which cause errors and slow down delivery of mail to the group
  • Promote and publicise the group: - if the JISCMail group is going to be successful, people need to hear about it
  • Encourage and sometimes direct, relevant discussion. This may include dealing with subscribers who disrupt the group in one way or another
  • In support of our policy on JISCMail and the Freedom of Information Act, we recommend that the group owner agrees with members of a group not to designate requests for information posted to the group as Freedom of Information requests
  • Monitor the group to ensure that postings are in accordance with the principles of The Data Protection Act and take appropriate action where necessary
  • Monitor the group to ensure that postings are in accordance with the JISCMail Guidelines on Etiquette and our Service Policies, and take appropriate action where necessary
  • Monitor the group to ensure that postings are not in breach of copyright (e.g. postings which are forwarded from another source without permission) and take appropriate action where necessary

Note: The Helpline is always happy to assist or provide guidance on any of these tasks.
There is also a good List Owner's Manual available from the makers of LISTSERV®

What Skills do group Owners Need?

As a group owner you do not need to be a computing expert. A certain familiarity with email and the World Wide Web is all the technical experience that is required.
Group owners should, however, have an enthusiasm for the subject of their group, the time to monitor their group regularly, and a willingness to encourage discussion and promote the group.

Is it time consuming?

The amount of time needed to run a group depends on the type of group, how many members there are, the amount of support they need, and how active the group is.
Regular maintenance should take no more than 30 minutes a week depending on size.

Anything Else I Should Know?

It is advisable to have a browse through the JiscMail Service Policies. The Subscribers introduction webpage also covers some fundamentals.

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3. FAQ

This FAQ section is designed to cover some of the more specific questions we get asked that are not necessarily covered in other 'List Owners' pages.

Email Addresses and Passwords

Q.Why does LISTSERV say I'm not an owner?

A. If your email address has changed, LISTSERV will not recognise you as the list owner, and messages from you will be rejected.

See next question.

Q. My email address has changed - what shall I do?

A. You will need to get your email address in the list configuration changed. This can be done by your co-owner(s), if you have any, or by contacting the JiscMail Helpline.

You will also need to register a new password. Go to www.jiscmail.ac.uk and do this from the link on the left of the page.

Q. Can I use my home email to be a list owner?

A. Yes, just add your home address as another owner, and then you can administer your list from either home or work. You will need to regsiter a password with both addresses.

To avoid duplication of admin messages, you can choose to make one of your addresses a 'Quiet' owner. Format as in the following example:

Owner= firstnamelastname@inst.ac.uk
Owner= Quiet:
Owner= firstnamelastname@home.org

Please remember that at least one list owner must have an 'ac.uk' address.

Inappropriate Use of the Group

Q. How can I stop junk mail (spam) reaching my list?

A. If you have a Private list, only your members will be able to post to it.
However, if yours is a Public list, you can stop the majority of spam getting to your list by setting the 'Send= ' option to 'Public,Confirm,Non-Member' in the list configuration. Non-members trying to post to the list will receive a confirmation email requiring them to click on a link in order to confirm that their email is valid. Since the vast majority of spam is sent by automated processes, the confirmation message would not be acted upon and the message not get through.

Q. Are people allowed to send adverts and promotional message to my list?

Promotional messages should only be posted if they are related to the subject or purpose of that list, and are likely to benefit or interest list members. However, as list owner, it is up to you to decide what is appropriate for your list.

Q. Someone has sent an undesirable message to my list - what should I do?

A. If a message is sent to your list that you, or another subscriber, feels is offensive in some way, email the subscriber off-list to let them know that you feel their message is inappropriate. You may find it helpful to quote relevant sections of the JISCMail Guidelines on Etiquette and Service Use Policies.
If you would like further help or advice, please contact the JiscMail Helpline

Q. Can I read messages before they reach the list?

A. Yes, if you choose to have a moderated / edited list. See List Moderation.

Q. Does JISCMail monitor all the messages sent to lists?

A. We do not monitor postings sent to JISCMail lists. However, the JISCMail team is able to look at any message sent to any list, whether Public or Private, but we only do so if there is a particular problem.

Helping List Members

Q. Why people having difficulty leaving my list?

A. If someone's email address has changed, JISCMail will no longer recognise them as a list member and they will not be able to remove themselves. You will need to do it for them, or ask the JiscMail Helpline to do it.

Q. How do I encourage people to talk more?

A. You may need to initiate discussions from time to time. If the list has a small membership, perhaps you could look at promoting the list to others who may be interested in having a common forum for discussion.

Q. Can I stop people sending attachments/HTML to my list?

A. You can block attachments, other than those in plain text, by specifying 'Attachments= No' within the list configuration.

To block HTML postings, use the line 'Misc-Options= DISCARD_HTML'

Q. How do I add subscribers to my list?

A. Choose 'List Management' from the menu bar at the top of your List Management page, then choose 'Subscriber Management' from the drop down menu. Enter details of the new subscriber in the 'Add Subscriber' box. From this page you can also search for an existing subscriber to edit their details, or 'Review' all subscribers and see the result in a browser window or have it sent to you in an email. If you wish to add many new subscribers in one go, then use the' Bulk Operations' tab in 'Subscriber Management' and follow the instructions.

Q. How can I let my subscribers know how to leave the list?

A. An easy way to do this is to use the top/bottom banner template facility, as any text within this template will be added to the top or bottom of every message sent to the list.
To create one go to the 'List Management' drop down menu and choose 'Customization' then 'Mail Templates'. Choose 'All Templates' in the 'Select Template Category' drop down box and type 'Bottom Banner' then click the 'Search' button. Choose 'Bottom banner for plain text postings [BOTTOM_BANNER]' from the 'Select Template:' drop down box and click' Edit Template'. Add a message into the 'Contents:' area and click on 'Update' to save your changes. You could give the link here to the join/leave list section. Top and bottom banners are also a useful way to pass on hints and tips to list subscribers.

Being a List Owner

Can I hand my list over to someone else?

A. Yes. If you are the only list owner, you should find a new owner, possibly by emailing to your list and asking for someone with an ac.uk type email address to volunteer.

Q. Can I have more than one list owner?

A. Yes, the list can have as many owners as you like and some JISCMail lists have several co-owners. Having more than one owner can be useful to cover during breaks so that there is adequate coverage for any list admin tasks that need to be performed.
You can add owners via the List Configuration or ask the helpline to do this for you.

To do this yourself, go to your List Management interface and choose the 'List Management' option from the menu bar at the top of your page. Select 'List Configuration, then 'Manual List Configuration' from the drop-down menu. Copy the entire 'Owner= ' line and paste it below the exisitng line, then edit it with the new owner's details. Click the 'Submit' button to save your changes. The new owner will need to have a password so that they can log in and manage the list. They should register this from the link on the left of the page at www.jiscmail.ac.uk

Q. I am going on holiday for a month - can I suspend email from my list?

A. If you're taking a lengthy break, messages from the list and error reports will build up in your mailbox.
As a list owner you cannot suspend admin mail, but you can still set your subscription to the 'Nomail' option so that you will not receive normal postings to the list. However, if you have arranged for someone else to act as owner and look after your list, you could ask them to (temporarily) remove you as owner and then reinstate you on your return.

Q. Why am I not receiving messages posted to my list?

A. List owners will not receive postings unless they are subscribed to the list.

Q. How do I store/organise files in my list Files Area

A. Choose 'File Store' from the 'List Management' drop down menu within the list management dashboard. This will allow you to perform various functions related to the management of your list’s Files Area.

Q. How do I link direct to a document within my File Store?

A. Use the URL https://www.jiscmail.ac.uk/files/listname/docname.doc
where 'listname' is the name of your list and 'docname.doc' is the name of your document.

Q. How can I create a survey on my list?

A. Instructions can be found at: http://www.JISCMail.ac.uk/tools/surveys.html

Q. How can I change the wording for the moderation interface on my list?

A. 1) Enter List Management > Customization > Web Template for the list
2) In the Search Template field enter TEXT-MODERATION and click the Search button
3) From the Select Template dropdown menu, select Moderation Text [TEXT-MODERATION] and click Edit Template button
4) Find for the text you want to change, edit it and click update button to save the changes (Only change the text after the variable name. Variables name begins with a T- and are in capital letters e.g. T-MSGSENTO).

On the Web

Q. Can I remove a message from the archives?

If you need to remove a message from the list, you may do so by going to the relevant page within your archives and clicking on the 'dustbin' icon to the right hand side of the posting.

Q. Can I create my own web pages?

A. You can create web pages and place them in your list's file area. They will be listed in the same manner as other files.

Q. How do I link to another web page from my list homepage?

A. This is done via 'Customization/Web Templates' using the 'OBJECT-A0-HOMEPAGE-LINK' template.

Error Messages

Q. I am receiving several messages a day - what should I do?

A. When you receive your daily error report, you should remove all addresses that have 'Permanent Errors'. This way your report shouldn't get too unmanageable.

See the Error Messages section.

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4. Creating a Mailing List

There are 3 steps to starting a new JISCMail group. Following the menu to the right-hand side of the page, the steps are:

  1. Check that the characteristics of the proposed group meet the criteria.
  2. [Optional] Make a note of up to 5 categories for your group to be placed in.
  3. Fill out the new group request form. When choosing the type of group you want, the terms 'public', 'restricted' and 'private' are defined as follows:




Anyone can join the group Membership is added by the group Owner(s) Membership is added by the group Owner(s)
Anyone can send messages to the group, although non-members will need to confirm their email as a safe-guard against spam Only members can send messages to the group Only members can send messages to the group
The group will have a web page where archive messages will be visible to anyone (non-members included), this will include a files area The group will have a web page where archive messages will be visible to anyone (non-members included), this will include a files area The group will have a web page where archive messages are visible to members only, this will include a files area.
Any member performing an automatic reply will be sending it back to the group for circulation Any member performing an automatic reply will be sending it back to the originator of the initial message Any member performing an automatic reply will be sending it back to the originator of the initial message
The group will be made available on the JISCMail A-Z, Category and search pages The group will be made available on the JISCMail A-Z, Category and search pages The group will NOT be made available on the JISCMail A-Z, Category and search pages

New group requests are automatically sent to the Helpline where they will be actioned within 3 working days (although normally you will receive them more promptly than this).

Note: If the group name you choose has already been taken we will contact you to discuss a suitable alternative.

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5. Renaming or deleting your list

A list can be renamed or deleted by the Jiscmail helpline, on request from one of the list owners.

These changes can have an impact on subscribers and other users, and helpline will discuss the implications and options with you before making any changes.

If you want to rename or delete a list, send an email to help@jisc.ac.uk including the changes you require and the name of the list(s) you want to make the changes to.

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6. Mailing list Management

List Management

The main tool for managing a list is the List Management (or Web Admin) interface, as illustrated below. This allows list owners to perform tasks such as adding subscribers and configuring the list.

screenshot of list management page

In order to use the List Management interface you need to have a password and be logged in.
If you are owner of more than one list, they will all be displayed within your 'Dashboard'. Click on a listname to access that particular list.
You can choose the level of help you receive within JISCMail by going to the 'Preferences' link on the top right of the page. Choose from 'Basic Mode', 'Expert Mode', or 'Tutorial Mode'.


You can also perform essential list management tasks by email. See the command reference guide for owner commands.

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7. Manage Subscribers



Part of the role of an owner is to manage subscribers.To do this, choose 'List Management' from the tool bar at the top of your list management page, then choose 'Subscriber Management' from the drop down menu.
Tasks involved include:

Adding subscribers You may configure the list header so that members can subscribe themselves. Alternatively, you can specify that all subscription requests are sent to you for approval.
Removing subscribers Subscribers can remove themselves from a group. However if they have any problems, they should come to you for assistance.
Amending subscriptions A subscriber may ask for help in changing their subscription options..
Dealing with errors Owners will receive a daily error report detailing addresses of subscribers whose delivery has failed. Listserv deals automatically with these by deleting addresses that have failed for 100 delivery attempts, or four days. However, it is good practice for an owner to manually delete any that are reported as permanent errors.

In order to manage subscribers, choose 'List Management' from the tool bar at the top of your list management page, then choose 'Subscriber Management' from the drop down menu.


You can also perform subscriber tasks by email. The commands are:

Adding subscribers ADD
Removing subscribers DEL
Get a list of subscribers REVIEW

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8. Moderation

You can choose to have a moderated list if this is best for your project. Moderation means that all messages must be approved by a list editor before they are posted to a list.
Moderation can be specified when the list is created or set up subsequently via the list configuration.
When a message is posted to a moderated list, LISTSERV® will forward it to the moderator for approval. The moderator can then either authorise or reject it.
Technically, all that the moderator has to do is click on the link provided on the notification email, or reply with an 'OK'. Moderators can also use the List Moderation feature of the web interface.


Irrelevant postings can be intercepted.


Messages will take longer to reach the list and free-flowing discussion may be constrained.

Role of the Moderator

The role of a moderator is to review and approve postings to a JISCMail group according to its guidelines.
Moderation requires varying effort and carries certain responsibilities:

  • If a message does not qualify, it can be sent back to the author with an explanation of why it is not suitable for posting
  • Depending on the nature of the list, acceptable turnaround time can range from a few hours to a few days
  • The amount of time needed to moderate a list depends on the type of list, how many members there are, and how active it is

It is a good idea to have more than one moderator - especially on a busy list, as this can ease the workload and ensure that response times are adequate.

Implementing Moderation on your list

Go to 'List Management', 'List Configuration' and 'Manual List Configuration'

Change the 'Send=' line to the following:


This means that only the Editor may post to the group; 'Hold' makes moderation easy by providing a link within the email sent to the Editor, which he then clicks to approve the message; 'Confirm' means that the Editor must confirm any postings he sends himself (to prevent spoofing of the Editor address); 'Non-Member' means that anyone who is not subscribed to the list will also need to confirm their email address before their message is forwarded to the Editor - again, as a security feature to prevent spamming.

There are other options for the configuration - contact the JiscMail helpline for guidance.

It is recommended that a group has more than two moderators. Add the following lines, replacing the letters with email addresses:

Editor= A
Editor= B
Editor= C
Editor= D
Moderator= All,
Moderator= D
Moderator= E

In the example above, A, B, C and D can post direct to the group without having their postings moderated, but the moderation of all other postings is shared by A the editor/ primary moderator and D and E the other moderators.

For two or more moderators, it is usual to have the Moderator= All, set. This determines which moderator receives the posting and when. Without this line, moderators take it in turn to give approval as in a round robin, but as a moderator could be on leave /away from the office for a while and postings could be held for a long time, the Moderator= All, keyword sends the posting to all the moderators and any can deal with it. N.B. When moderating from the web the moderator=all box must be ticked and the screen refreshed to see the postings for moderation.

It should not be necessary, but sometimes as an extra precaution list owners like to have all their members set to review. This means they have a tick in the box marked 'all postings sent to owner for review' in their subscription. This can be achieved on a new list with review added to the default options line i.e.

Default-options= Noack,Repro,Review

If the list has been set up some time then old members will not have this set, so each email must be set to it. The easiest way is to issue the command by sending an email to listserv@jiscmail.ac.uk with the following in the body to the email:

Quiet set LISTNAME review for *@*

This will set ALL members to review so you need now to go into subscribers, pick up the owners/editors/moderators individually and remove the review.

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9. Email Commands

Sending a Command

LISTSERV® has a powerful command interpreter that allows you to perform most list-related tasks by email.

To send a command, open a new email and complete it as follows:

screenshot of an email with a command


The To: address should be LISTSERV@JISCMail.ac.uk
The subject is ignored by LISTSERV, so can be left blank.
Ideally, all that should be present in the Message body is the command and its syntax. You can send more than one command at once providing each command begins on a new line.

Important: If a signature, or anything else, is contained in the message body after the command(s) it is vital that it is preceeded by a '--', otherwise LISTSERV will try to interpret it as part of the command

There are various subscriber commands and List Owner commands you can use.

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10. Web Commands

These are the most commonly used LISTSERV® commands for owners. Each command listed is followed by its syntax - angled brackets indicate a required parameter and square brackets an optional parameter. To issue a command via email, send an email to listserv@jiscmail.ac.uk with no subject and the command in the body of the email.

Please also see subscriber commands.


Command Syntax: [QUIET] ADD <groupname> <address> [full name]
[QUIET] ADD <groupname> DD=ddname IMPORT

More Details: Add users to one of your groups. The word QUIET, when placed before the command, stops any confirmations being sent out.

Example 1:

ADD jiscmail-newsletter joe.bloggs@somewhere.ac.uk Joe Bloggs - Adds Joe Bloggs to the 'jiscmail-newsletter' group with the email address 'joe.bloggs@somewhere.ac.uk'. A confirmation message would be sent to him.

Example 2:

QUIET ADD jiscmail-newsletter DD=ddname IMPORT
//ddname DD *
j.bloggs@somewhere.com Joe Bloggs
j.smith@anywhere.com John Smith 

This is what's known as a 'Bulk Add'. In this case, 2 subscribers are added to the 'jiscmail-newsletter' without sending them a confirmation.


Command Syntax: [QUIET] DEL <groupname> <address>
[QUIET] DEL <groupname> DD=ddname

More Details: Delete users from one of your groups. The word QUIET, when placed before the command, stops any confirmations being sent out.

Example 1:

DEL jiscmail-newsletter joe.bloggs@somewhere.ac.uk

Removes 'joe.bloggs@somewhere.ac.uk' from the 'jiscmail-newsletter' group and sends him a confirmation.

Example 2:

QUIET DEL jiscmail-newsletter DD=ddname 
//ddname DD *

This is what's known as a 'Bulk Delete'. In this case, 2 subscribers are removed from the 'jiscmail-newsletter' without sending them a confirmation.


Command Syntax: GET <groupname> (HEADER

More Details: Gets the specified group header to enable a group owner to view or change the list configuration. Note: This command locks the list header until either it is replaced using the PUT command, or the UNLOCK command is issued.

Example 1:

GET jiscmail-newsletter (HEADER

Get the 'jiscmail-newsletter' list header.


Command Syntax: PUT <groupname> GROUP PW=<password>

More Details: Replaces the specified list header. The password is your LISTSERV® password, registered via the web interface or with the PW command. Note: When you perform a GET command the header is sent to you in the correct format for a subsequent PUT. It is therefore strongly recommended that you copy the contents of that email into a new email and amend the relevant parts from there.

Example 1:

PUT jiscmail-newsletter GROUP PW=waterfall
* header line 1
* header line 2
* etc

Replaces the 'jiscmail-newsletter' list header where your LISTSERV® password is 'waterfall'.


Command Syntax: UNLOCK <groupname>

More Details: Unlocks the specified list header that was locked by a previous GET command.

Example 1:

UNLOCK jiscmail-newsletter Unlocks the 'jiscmail-newsletter' list header.


Command Syntax: HOLD <groupname

More Details: Holds (freezes) a group, preventing new postings from being processed until a FREE command is sent. This can be useful if you want to stop postings being delivered to the group while investigating a problem.

Example 1:

HOLD jiscmail-newsletter Holds the group 'jiscmail-newsletter'.


Command Syntax: FREE <groupname>

More Details: Frees a group that has been held by the HOLD command or by LISTSERV®.

Example 1:

FREE jiscmail-newsletter Frees the group 'jiscmail-newsletter'.



Command Syntax: INDEX <groupname>

More Details: Returns a list of available files and archives for the specified group.

Example 1:

INDEX jiscmail-newsletter Returns index for 'jiscmail-newsletter'.


Command Syntax: GET [<groupname>\]<file name>

More Details: Retrieve a file or achive.

Example 1:

GET jiscmail-newsletter\minutes.txt

Request a file called 'minutes.txt' belonging to 'jiscmail-newsletter'.

Example 2:

GET jiscmail-newsletter.log0210 Requests the February 2010 archive file for the 'jiscmail-newsletter' group.


Command Syntax: PUT <file name> <groupname> PW=<password>

More Details: Update a file or achive.

Example 1:

PUT minutes.txt jiscmail-newsletter PW=waterfall

Replace the file 'minutes.txt' belonging to the 'jiscmail-newsletter'. Note: The first line of the email must contain the PUT command and the subsequent lines are the actual lines that will appear in the file you are updating.


Command Syntax: SEARCH <groupname> <word1> [word2 etc] [more options below]

More Details: Search a group's message archives.

Example 1:

SEARCH jiscmail-newsletter constable turner - Searches the archives of 'jiscmail-newsletter' for the words 'constable' & 'turner'


Additional options can be appended to the above syntax in many combinations. These are:

FROM date1 TO date2 Between and including the specified dates, eg:
FROM 01/10/2002 TO 01/11/2002
FROM TODAY Search only today's posts
FROM TODAY-7 Search in the last 7 days
WHERE SUBJECT CONTAINS xxxxx Match where subjects contains 'xxxxx'
WHERE SENDER CONTAINS xxxxx Match where sender contains 'xxxxx'
AND/OR Can be used to separate multiple WHERE conditions



Command Syntax: PW ADD <password>
PW CHANGE newpassword PW=oldpassword

More Details: Registers a new, or changes an existing, LISTSERV® password, registered against your email address.

Example 1:

PW ADD waterfall - Registers the new password 'waterfall'.

Example 2:

PW CHANGE eclipse PW=waterfall - Changes your existing 'waterfall' password to 'eclipse'.


Command Syntax: REVIEW <groupname>

More Details: Returns a list of subscribers on the specified group.

Example 1:

REVIEW jiscmail-newsletter - Reveals the subscribership of 'jiscmail-newsletter'.


Command Syntax: LISTS

More Details: Returns a list of non-confidential lists on the JISCMail service.

The full LISTSERV documentation on commands can be viewed in the LSoft manual here.

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11. Error Messages

Basic Information

One of the roles an owner has, is to deal with error messages that might result from messages sent to a group and which are not handled by the LISTSERV© Auto-Delete mechanism (see below).

Typically, these errors result from subscribers whose email addresses no longer exist, but who have forgotten to remove themselves from the group. These are called 'delivery errors' or 'bounces'. The remote mail server will normally return the original email along with a message to say why it could not be delivered.

When you receive an error message of any sort you need to identify what it is. Most delivery errors, will contain phrases like 'No such user' or 'Recipient address not recognised' and quote the email address that failed. In this case, you can remove the subscriber from your group. However, if the error says something like 'Mailbox full', it is not a permanent problem and can be ignored.

LISTSERV's Auto-Delete Mechanism

LISTSERV provides a mechanism to automatically delete subscribers whose email addresses are no longer valid, or where there are lasting problems with their mail system.

It does this is by processing delivery errors; providing such errors are correctly sent by the remote mail system and are in one of the many formats LISTSERV recognises, the auto-delete mechanism will deal with them. If not, they will be sent to the owner and should be handled as described above.

The auto-delete mechanism can be controlled by adjusting the List Configuration. By default, the retry period is 4 days or 100 delivery attempts - this is to allow for temporary problems that a subscriber's mail system may be experiencing. If the delivery fails after the retry period, LISTSERV will delete the subscriber. However, a listowner may opt to have a different retry period, or no Auto-Delete option at all.

Subscribers being monitored by the auto-delete mechanism, will appear on a 'Daily Error Monitoring Report' sent to owners of groups.

Note: It is possible for an address to appear on the monitoring report that isn't subscribed to the group. This is usually caused by a subscriber having their mail forwarded to another account which is reported on the delivery error.

If you receive any errors that you cannot decipher, the Helpline can assist.

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12. Mail Customisation


The Layout feature provides a simple means of changing the appearance of the web message archives for your group. For example you can change the default sorting order, or specify whether the various options when viewing archives are displayed in a text or graphical format. This feature is accessible via the 'Layout' option under the 'List Management' drop down menu within your List Managment area.


LISTSERV® templates provide a means to customise the look of pages on the web interface, or the text of messages sent to users of the group. You can access this feature from the 'Templates' option under the 'List Management' drop down menu on your List Management page.

Templates are divided into two categories called 'WWW' and 'Mail' templates (this classification should not be taken too literally as you will find some web templates appearing in the 'Mail' section).

The template page looks something like this:

Image: Templates

In the drop-down list of templates at the top of the page, a '(*)' indicates that the template has been modified before and the template name is contained in square brackets at the end.

You can alternate between WWW and Mail templates by clicking on the button 'Switch to xxxx Templates', and search for a template by typing in part of its name in the box provided and clicking on 'Refresh'.

Some of the more commonly customised templates are:

TOP_BANNER, BOTTOM_BANNER The contents of these templates are inserted at the top and bottom of every email distributed to the group. Examples of use could be copyright or legal info in the top banner, or instructions for leaving the group in the bottom banner. These templates are blank by default.
WWW_INDEX This contains the HTML used to generate the homepage for the group.
$SIGNUP1, SIGNUP1, ADD1 The contents of $SIGNUP1 is inserted into both SIGNUP1 and ADD1 and provides basic information on how to use the list. SIGNUP1 is sent when a user subscribes themself to a group and ADD1 when an owner adds a subscriber to the group.

For a full listing of templates and their purpose, see the LISTSERV Owner's Manual.

Note: Amending web templates does require some knowledge of HTML. You may also note the presence of special lines used by LISTSERV, such as lines beginning with '.IM' which instruct LISTSERV to insert the contents of another template into the current one.

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13. Web Customisation

JISCMail - Templating

This is a guide to templating which is how list owners can change the look and feel of their list's homepage.

For this tutorial, the list example will be the JISCMail's OWNERS-ANNOUNCE list. At the time of the page being written it looked like:


Your pages in your list in made by a compilation of modules and therefore if you wanted to change for example the logo in the top left hand corner, you would edit the Module BODY-GLOBAL-HEADER.

Your pages will also have a style which is a file that contains a set of rules for the pages to format. This is in CSS format (CSS is defined in the Glossary)

To edit a style/module, make sure you are on the list that you would like to edit and then go to the menu bar at the top of the page (under the titlebar)
List Management>Customization>Web Templates

Then, type in the name of the stylesheet/module you would like to edit and click search.

That module should now be displayed in a text box ready to edit.

Your list will have a style which is in CSS. By changing the style of the site you can completely change the look of your list's homepage (see example below). The Most major differences that can be made with CSS would be colours, fonts and backgrounds

list with changed style

The main stylesheet to edit is STYLESHEET-GLOBAL

You can also move the modules around as shown in the example above, the login details don't appear in the top right, instead they appear just below the menu bar on the right.

Here is two brief tables explaining how the modules work and what various parts of the modules mean.

&DATE Date in the format: dd mmm yyyy
&TIME Time in the format: hh:mm:ss
&WEEKDAY Day in the format: Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sat, Sun
&ISODATE Returns today's date in ISO format. i.e. yyyy-mm-dd
&OSTYPE The operating system under which LISTSERV is running
&TITLE List Title
For more Substitutions, go to: LSoft Manuals
Most Common Commands  
.BB cond

Start of a conditional Block (see also .EB, .ELSE and .QU)


End of a conditional Block (see also .BB, .ELSE and .QU)


Conditional ELSE (see also .BB, .EB and .QU)

.IM name

Inserts another template


Quit conditional block (see also .BB, .EB and .ELSE)

.QUIF Similar to .QU however is a one line condition i.e.
.QUIF &DATE = 25 DEC 2009
This would quit the loop if it was Christmas day in 2009
.SJ Sets subject for messages
.SM Sends a copy of message by email if outputting by web interface

An example of using the conditional blocks would be:
.BB &x = 10
put a statement here
another statement here


For more commands, go to: LSoft Manuals


Please find the most major modules listed below. If you would like more information about a module, just hover your cursor over the module and more information will appear underneath.


      <table cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0" border="0">
      <td class="userRole">

      <a href="#SKIPNAVLINKS"><img src="&+BLANK;" alt="&+T-SKIPNAVLINKS;"
        width="1" height="1" border="0"></a>
up arrow

Displays email address of user

    +BB &+IS_ADMIN;
    +BB &+IS_OWNER;
    +BB &+IS_ADMIN;

    +BB &+IS_MOD;
up arrow

Displays user's attibutes (i.e. Owner, Moderator, etc..)




      <table cellpadding="2" cellspacing="0" border="0">
      <td class="userRole">
      +BB &+LOGGED_IN;
      +BB &+LEVEL-BASIC;
      <a href="&+SCRIPT;?PREF&+OPTXY;">&+T-BASIC;</a>

up arrow

States "Basic Mode" if in basic mode.

      <a href="&+SCRIPT;?PREF&+OPTXY;">&+T-EXPERT;</a>
arrow indicating to see above

States "Expert Mode" if in expert mode.


      <a href="&+SCRIPT;?PREF&+OPTXY;">&+T-TUTORIAL;</a>
arrow indicating to see above

States "Tutorial Mode" if in tutorial mode.

arrow indicating to see above

Shows link to go into edit mode




    <table width="100%" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" border="0" class="titleBorderTop">
    <col width="*">
    <col width="275">

    <td><a href="http://www.jiscmail.ac.uk"><img src="/images/main.jpg" />
      alt="JISCmail Logo" title="JISCmail - National Academic Mailing List Service"
arrow indicating to see above

Change this highlighted text to change the logo on the list pages.

    <td align="right">
arrow indicating to see above

Remove this to get rid of the help button. Else you could just move it.




      <td valign="top" align="left">
      <LABEL FOR="&+T-SELLIST;"><b>&+T-SELLIST;:</b></label><br>

      <select name="&+WA-FUNCTION;" id="&+T-SELLIST;"
      <option value="">&+T-SELLIST;
arrow indicating to see above

This is the navigational bar that is shown under the title. To change the contents of the bar goto the module OBJECT-GLOBAL-LISTSELECTOR-NAVBAR



      <table width="100%" cellpadding="5" cellspacing="0">

      +BB &+TITLEICON;
      <td width="64"><img src="&+TITLEICON;" alt="&+PAGE-TITLE;" title="&+PAGE-TITLE;"></td>
arrow indicating to see above

This is where the icon is displayed

      <td width="100%" nowrap>
      +BB &+LISTNAME;

      +BB &+LISTNAME;
      +BB ^&+EQU(&+LISTNAME;,SITE);
      <td align="right" valign="bottom" nowrap><p><a href="&+SCRIPT;?A0=&+LNAME;&+OPTXY;">
        &+LISTNAME; &+T-HOME;</a></p></td>
arrow indicating to see above

The is where the text for the pagetitle is displayed




      +SE TITLE &+TITLE;

arrow indicating to see above

If there isn't a list name to display, the list address is shown

arrow indicating to see above

If there is a list name to display LISTNAME@jiscmail.ac.uk is displayed



      +BB &+LIST-TITLE;

arrow indicating to see above

This is where you list title is displayed by default

      <tr><td><p> <p></td></tr>


arrow indicating to see above

Remove/Comment this to display html description instead of default plain text description. To edit HTML description goto List Management>List Configuration>List Configuraion Wizard

arrow indicating to see above

Remove/Comment this if you do not want linebreaks in the text description.

      +BB &+LONGDESC;
      +BB &+HTMLDESC;
      +BB &+HTMLDESC;
      +BB &+LIST-DESC;



      <td width="10%" valign="top" nowrap><p><b>&+T-ARCOPTIONS;:</b></p></td>

      <a href="&+SCRIPT;?RESET-COOKIE&L=&+LNAME;&+OPTXY;">&+T-LOGOUT;</a>
        | <a href="&+SCRIPT;?LOGIN1&c=1&L=&+LNAME;&+OPTXY;">&+T-CHANGEPW;</a><br>

      <a href="&+SCRIPT;?LOGON=A0%3d&+ENC(&+LNAME;)&L=&+LNAME;&+OPTXY;">&+T-LOGIN;</a>
        | <a href="&+SCRIPT;?GETPW1&+OPTXY;">&+T-GETPW;</a><br>

arrow indicating to see above

Displays "Logout" if logged in and if logged out displays "Login | Get Password"

      <a href="&+SCRIPT;?SUBED1=&+LNAME;&+OPTXY;">&+T-ARCJOIN;</a><br>
      <a href="&+SCRIPT;?P1&L=&+LNAME;&+OPTXY;">&+T-ARCPOST;</a><br>

      <a href="&+SCRIPT;?SUBED1=&+LNAME;&A=1&+OPTXY;">&+T-ARCJOIN;</a><br>
arrow indicating to see above

Displays phrase "Join or Leave LISTNAME" and if a member of the List it also displays "Post a new Message"

      +BB &+A1LINKS;
      <a href="&+SCRIPT;?S1=&+LNAME;&+OPTXY;">&+T-ARCSEARCH;</a>

arrow indicating to see above

Displays phrase "Search Archives"

      +*Tools Navigation links
      <td width="400">



arrow indicating to see above

Each element here can easily be moved or removed. You can also add html to change the way they are displayed else just change the order that they appear in.

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14. Training

NEW JiscMail live online clinics

Are you new to managing your own mailing list hosted on JiscMail? Or have you recently taken over the management of an existing mailing list?

This live online clinic gives you the opportunity to ask questions about key functions and tools for managing mailing lists, as well as asking questions about the configuration of your mailing list.

We will also answer your questions on general list owner roles and responsibilities and you can provide feedback on areas that are problematic, as well as share your JiscMail experience with other organisations.

Drop-in clinics run from September, every 2 weeks starting again on Thursday 5th September, 11:15-12noon.

Questions may include:

  • How do I manage subscribers on my list (adding, removing, changing their settings)?
  • How can subscribers post messages to my mailing list?
  • How can I get view of all my lists?
  • What kind of reports does JiscMail offer?

Clinic dates September 2019 - February 2020

  • Thursday 5th & 19th September
  • Thursday 3rd & 17th October
  • Thursday 7th & 21st November
  • Thursday 5th & 12th December
  • Thursday 9th & 23rd January
  • Thursday 6th & 20th February

More information about the clinics, including set-up requirements can be found on the Jisc website: https://www.jisc.ac.uk/training/jiscmail-live-online-clinic for full details.

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