24 Pages

Electronic Discussion Lists

ByBernie Sloan

Electronic discussion lists are a form of communication that use e-mail to facilitate group discussions on a particular topic. There are a number of terms that people commonly use to refer to this form of communication including electronic discussion groups, e-mail discussion

[Haworth co-indexing entry note]: “Electronic Discussion Lists.” Sloan, Bernie. Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Library Administration (The Haworth Information Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc.) Vol. 44, No. 3/4, 2006, pp. 203-225; and: Library/Vendor Relationships (ed: Sam Brooks, and David H. Carlson) The Haworth Information Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc., 2006, pp. 203-225.

groups, e-mail lists, etc. Perhaps the most commonly used term is “listserv.” It is understandable that people might use the term “listserv” when referring to electronic discussion lists. The very first e-mail list management software was called “LISTSERV®” and debuted in 1986 ( But “listserv” should not be used to generically describe electronic discussion lists as the term is a registered trademark licensed to L-Soft International, Inc. For the purpose of clarity, I will refer to the various types of e-mail management lists as simply “lists.”