Tips for IS Committee List Administrator

Background Information: Position description of IS List Administrator

Creating the Lists

Immediately after ALA Annual, set up lists for all committees, the Executive Committee, and the Advisory Council. The Executive Committee list consists only of the seven members of the IS Executive Committee. The Advisory Council list will include the Executive Committee, all Committee Chairs, all ex-officio members (Newsletter Editor, LOEX Coordinator, Web Site Administrator, List Administrator, ACRL Board Liaison) and Megan Griffin from the ACRL Office.

The naming convention for the lists is IS-xxx-L, with xxx representing a three-to-four letter abbreviation or acronym for the committee. Alternatively, suggest a name for each list and ask for the chair’s approval.

The settings for the lists should be as follows:

  1. Subscription controlled by list administrator
  2. Unmoderated
  3. Only subscribers and listowner may post to the list.
  4. Replies go to the list.
  5. Messages are sent daily rather than digested weekly.
  6. Second owner for the lists may be another member of Communication Committee or someone at your institution.
  7. The list is hidden so others do not find it in directories.
  8. Any rejected message is returned to sender and copied to the listowner.

Once the lists are set up, create a customized welcome message to replace or tweak the welcome message from July of the previoud year. An example of a 2014/5 welcome message is (bold portions = what would need updating across welcome messages and/or with new committee listserv administrators):


WELCOME to the ACRL/IS Discussion Group Steering Committee list.

You are now subscribed to IS-dgsc, your primary communication mechanism with
the other members of the Committee. To post messages to the list, send mail to This list is unmoderated, though only the current members are
subscribed and may post messages to this list. When you need to be removed
from the list, the listowner will perform this function.


The primary listowner is Laureen P. Cantwell, If you
have problems with the list, including a new/updated email address, please
contact the listowner for assistance.


Due to ALA’s tax exemption as a 501(c)(3), ALA resources cannot be used to
support or oppose any candidate for public office. Nor can they be used to
link to other sites that contain such support or opposition.

Neither can ALA’s resources be used to suggest or support boycotts or to make
defamatory remarks.


Subscribe yourself to the list to test the settings and welcome message. Then, using the current year committee rosters on the IS web pages, subscribe each committee member to the correct list. Some committees may not change much over a year – send the welcomes message out to the entire committee. Once each list is set up, send out a test message and ask all list members to reply to the list in order to troubleshoot subscriptions.

Maintaining the Lists

The most commonly encountered problem with subscriptions is the existence of an extended version of an email address, as postings must come from the EXACT address that messages are sent from, for example not In this case, subscribe the individual at the extended email address and unsubscribe them at the shortened address. For other problems, carefully read error messages for information and consult the individual list subscriber and/or your campus list manager to resolve subscription issues.

You may also see “Bounced” notifications next to a member’s name. On occasion, this may mean a bad email address, but it’s just as likely to mean that a member had an autoresponse set up for a vacation or other out-of-office status. If problems persist with a committee member’s ability to send and/or receive messages to their listservs, typically that committee member and/or their committee chair get in touch with the committee listserv administrator. Some out-of-office bounces can be avoided by being added to the committee member’s address book, so listserv emails don’t fall into the autoresponse category, but may not always.

Occasionally, committees lose or add members during the course of a year, or entire committees are birthed. In the case of a new or lost committee member, adjust the listserv roster accordingly. Make sure the lost member is notified they’ve been removed from the listserv; add the new member silently, and email them directly that they have been added to the list and include the same welcome message sent at the beginning of the FY to their committee roster.

Actively communicate with the Section Chair and Committee Chairs to keep apprised of roster changes including mid-year appointments, resignations, job changes, and email address changes.

Lists from the previous year need to remain long enough for the previous chairs to have the minutes posted and approved and pass along final business items. Check with the past Committee Chair before terminating each list. Other requests to terminate committee listservs may come from an ACRL-IS Exec Committee chair. Deleting in SYMPA deletes the archive.