What are mailing lists?

Mailing lists allow a person to send an e-mail message to one address and have it automatically forwarded to many e-mail addresses.

What is LISTSERV®?

LISTSERV by L-Soft is e-mail list management software. LISTSERV offers a variety of e-mail list types including announcement-only and discussion groups (moderated or unmoderated).

LISTSERV allows list owners to maintain their lists through e-mail or web-browser interfaces. List subscribers can control personal list settings through a simple web interface. The list archives are available online. List subscribers can read and send messages via e-mail or through the web interface.

Listserv offers the following:

  • Moderated lists.
  • Allows users to self-subscribe or unsubscribe.
  • Allows non-University of Iowa subscribers.
  • Provides online archives.
  • Allows you. the list-owner, to administer the list yourself.
  • Provides a facility to advertise your list publicly.

What features does LISTSERV® offer?

The many features of LISTSERV® are summarized at LISTSERV® features by L-Soft.

Should I select LISTSERV® or a Office 365 list?

Office 365 lists can be automatically generated and are ideal for many departmental lists.

Listserv is preferable if you need any of the following:

  • A moderated list.
  • Allow users to self-subscribe or unsubscribe.
  • Have non-University of Iowa subscribers.
  • Want online archives.
  • Administer the list yourself.
  • Want to advertise your list publicly.

See Best Practices - Tips and Recommendations for Creating Lists in Office 365 for a more detailed comparison.

I forgot my password. How do I get a new one?

  1. Go to the LISTSERV Home Page. <https://list.uiowa.edu>
  2. Many LISTSERV selections do not require a login.
  3. The first time you see the screen Login Required you will have to create a LISTSERV E-mail Address and Password.
  4. Click Get Password or click Get a new LISTSERV password.
  5. On the Register LISTSERV Password screen enter your E-mail Address and desired Password
  • The e-mail address you enter on the web form must match the From: address supplied by your e-mail system, usually firstname-lastname@uiowa.edu. If you are unsure, send yourself an e-mail and check the From: line before filling in this section.
  • LISTSERV allows you to set one password for all of your lists. The password can be up to 260 characters in length and contain the characters A-Z 0-9 $#@_-?!|%
    This password is unique to LISTSERV, i.e., it is not synched with your e-mail or Hawkid password.
  • Once you enter the required information, click Register Password.
  • You will see the message "For your protection, the password will not be activated just yet (anyone could have completed this form using your e-mail address)."
  • To activate your password, simply follow the instructions that have been e-mailed to you.
    Please wait until you receive a message from LISTSERV saying "Your new password was registered successfully" before trying to use it with the WWW interface.
  1. Once your password has been registered, click Log in.
  2. In the Login Required Window, enter your email address and password and select Log In. The first time you log in LISTSERV will display the LISTSERV Archives page, but with a different toolbar at the top - with more options.

 Don't forget to Log Out at the end of your session.

How can I set my personal web page preferences?

The web page preferences allow you to set things such as your default start page. To view or change your preferences:

  1. Click Preferences in the upper right of the screen.
  2. For more information click the Help Icon associated with each preference. 

The Back button in my web browser is not letting me return to the previous page.  Why?

Page caching must be turned on in order to return to previous pages using your web browser Back button.  This value is set to No by default to provide extra security for those working on a shared computer.  Click Preferences and set the Cache Pages value to Yes if you want to use the Back button and the additional security is not critical to you.

LISTSERV keeps asking me to login again. Why?

Don't use the back button. Using the Back button on your web browser can cause:

  1. LISTSERV to logoff your session prematurely or,
  2. Make it look like you are logged off when you actually just went "back" too many screens.

We recommend that instead of using the Back button in your web browser you use the navigation bar on the top of the screen.

How do I find out what lists are available?

The most common way to find out about lists is from other reference materials such as journals or perhaps your professor provides you with the address of your class list.

Local, non-confidential LISTSERV lists may be browsed on the web.

Some list owners have elected to keep their listname confidential. If you know the listname and do not see it in the Online Mailing List Archives,

You can also obtain the list of local, non-confidential lists via e-mail:

  1. Address an e-mail message to listserv@list.uiowa.edu
  2. Put the following in the body of the message:
    lists

How do I subscribe to (join) a list?

One way is to use the web interface.

  1. Go to the LISTSERV Home Page. <https://list.uiowa.edu>
  2. Click on the listname or if the list is unlisted enter the listname in the Search field for Access Unlisted Lists.
  3. Click on Subscribe or Unsubscribe.
  4. Enter your Name and Email Address.
  5. Click on the Subscribe (listname) button.

The e-mail address you enter on the Subscribe or Unsubscribe page must match the From: address supplied by your e-mail system, usually firstname-lastname@uiowa.edu. If you are unsure, send yourself an e-mail and check the From: line before filling in this section. (Note: The e-mail address field is not displayed if you login to LISTSERV.)

Use the drop-down arrow in the Select List: field to switch to another list.

You can also subscribe (join) or unsubscribe (sign-off) via e-mail:

  1. Address an e-mail message to listserv@list.uiowa.edu
  2. Put the following in the body of the message:
    subscribe listname yourfirstname yourlastname

In both cases above a confirmation message will be sent to your e-mail address asking you to confirm your subscription request. Confirm your subscription request by clicking on the first link in the body of the message.

How do I post (send messages) to a list?

Once you have subscribed to the list, you can post messages to the list through the web interface or by sending e-mail to
listname@list.uiowa.edu.

To use the web interface:

  1. Go to the LISTSERV Home Page. <https://list.uiowa.edu>
  2. Select the list you wish to post to.
  3. Log in.
  4. Click on Post New Message
  5. The Send Message page will appear.
  6. Click on the checkbox next to Send a copy of the message to yourself.
  7. Enter your message  and click on Send Message.

Note: Lists can be set to:

  • Public - Anyone can post to the list.
  • Private - Only list members can send to the list.
  • Editor - Messages will be reviewed by a moderator to be approved or denied. This is also used for "Announce-only" lists.
  • Public, Auto-responder - The list simply responds with a set message.

How do I unsubscribe from (leave) a list?

To unsubscribe from (leave) a list, either use the web interface

  1. Go to the LISTSERV Home Page. <https://list.uiowa.edu>
  2. Select the list you wish to subscribe to (join) or unlisted archive form
  3. Select Join or leave the list

or via e-mail:

  1. Address an e-mail message to listserv@list.uiowa.edu
  2. Put the following in the body of the message:   signoff listname
  3. Do not include your name or e-mail address in the body of the signoff message.

Note: When you leave the University, you can use the command signoff * (signoff followed by a space and asterisk) to unsubscribe from all lists you have joined.

How can I filter LISTSERV messages?

My inbox is getting overloaded. Is there an easy way to automatically move (filter) these messages into another mailbox?

Yes. See How to Filter E-mail Messages.

How can I start my own list?

All University of Iowa faculty, staff, students, and recognized student organizations are eligible to start new lists with departmental approval.

Before requesting a new list, please:

  • Review The LISTSERV policy statement.
  • LISTSERV might not be your best solution!
    Before requesting a LISTSERV list, please review the document Best Practices - Tips and Recommendations for Creating Lists in Office 365
  • Next:
  • Review the New List Request Form Help before filling in your application. This document contains listname recommendations and other important information.
  • Click ListServ-Request-Form.pdf (requires Acrobat Reader) to download the LISTSERV® Request form. You may also contact the ITS Help Desk. Ask them to send you a "Request for LISTSERV Mailing List" application in campus mail.
  • Fill in the required fields.
  • Print the application.
  • Obtain signatures.
  • Send the application to the address listes in the upper left corner of the application. (You can also fax it to: 335-5505).

Can an outside organization get a LISTSERV list?

The list owner must be affiliated with the University and get the appropriate signatures/approvals by their department.

Where can I obtain more information?

Information, including all of the L-Soft manuals, is available at UI LISTSERV Documentation.

Article number: 
3907
Last updated: 
February 2, 2017
Category: