Law-Lib Listserv FAQ

Here is some basic information about law-lib. Note that this is not an "official" document, and I am not involved in any way with the administration or management of this list. Much of this information is from the automatic subscription acknowledgement sent by the listproc software, and the general help file for the listproc software. Suggestions for improvements are welcome - please reply to me individually, rather than to the list.

The law-lib list is unmoderated, but you do have to be a subscriber in order to post messages to the list. Most of the subscribers to law-lib are law librarians. All types of law librarians are welcome on this list: academic, law firm, court, government, etc. Other individuals with an interest in law librarianship are also welcome to subscribe.

Topics of discussion vary. Some examples are: difficult legal reference questions, interlibrary loan requests, job announcements, information vendor problems, and policy discussions. Law-lib is not an appropriate place for messages asking for legal advice, or referrals to attorneys. Occasional, brief notices of new products or services from commercial entities may also be acceptable. For example, a notification of a new customer service 800 number or a new website URL would be appropriate.

Law-lib Guidelines:

Do not post any defamatory, abusive, profane, threatening, offensive, or illegal information or material, and do not utilize the Discussion Forum in any illegal manner.

The Law-lib list is not monitored for inappropriate postings, and does not on its own undertake editorial control of postings. However, in the event that any inappropriate posting or unauthorized use of the Discussion Forum is brought to my attention, including but not limited to prohibited posting and usage as outlined herein, Law-Lib will take all appropriate action, in its sole discretion. Law-Lib reserves the right to terminate, without prior notice, the Discussion Forum access of any user who does not abide by these guidelines.  - Judy Janes, law-lib list owner and administrator.


NB: If you have not received any mail from the law-lib list for more than a day or two, you may have been involuntarily unsubscribed, or the list may have stopped sending messages to you. If this happens, try following the instructions to resume receiving messages from the list (set law-lib mail). If you receive a message indicating that you are not subscribed to the list, you will have to subscribe again. On occasion, you may need to try unsubscribing, then resubscribing.

When you want to post a message to the list, send it to:

The list owner is Judy Janes. Her e-mail address is:

You should contact her if there are problems that can't be solved using the commands below. For example, you may need to contact the list owner if you are having trouble unsubscribing because your e-mail address has changed since you subscribed.

Please do NOT send requests to subscribe, unsubscribe, change settings, etc. to the address for posting messages; instead direct them to:

For example, to signoff from the list, send a message to . The subject line of the message should contain the following text:
unsubscribe LAW-LIB
You should leave the body of the message blank, and delete any signature information from the end of the message. Note that unlike the old listproc system, Sympa prefers commands in the subject line, rather than in the body of your message.

Useful Commands

Here is a summary of some of the commands you can use on the law-lib mailing list:

NB: All of these commands must be sent to

You can also make changes to your law-lib subscription settings by using the sympa web interface. Here is the URL for the web interface:
Note that you will have to create a password the first time you use the web interface. Click on the "Other Users Click Here" button, then click on "First login?" and follow the instructions. You will have to respond to a validation e-mail message which will be sent to your e-mail address. More information on the login process is available here:
Once you have logged in to the system, you should see information about the law-lib list. If you do not, type law-lib in the Search Lists box. You can now click on Subscriber Options to change your settings, or click on Unsubscribe to leave the list. Remember to click on the Logout button when you are finished.

Law-Lib Archives

You must create a sympa account in order to access the list archives. Archives of law-lib messages can be found by pointing your web browser at the following URL:
1. Click on the "Other Users Click Here" button
2. Log in using your e-mail address and sympa password. If you haven't created an account with the sympa mail list system, you will have to do that first by clicking on the "First Login?" link. Basic instructions for creating a login are in the preceding section, immediately above the archives section.
3. Using advanced search, you will be able to search by individual month, a few years, or the entire file.

Additional information on accessing sympa list archives is available here:

Suggestions for Effective Use of Law-Lib

  1. Use a detailed subject line in your messages to the list.
  2. Make sure you don't send a personal message or reply to the entire list by mistake - double check the cc: line of the message before you send it.
  3. Note whether a message requests you to reply to directly to the sender, rather than to the list. Most surveys will fall into this category.
  4. If you are posting a reference or ILL request, indicate what sources you have already tried.
  5. If you choose to post a 'thank you' message to the list, consider including the answer to your question, for the benefit of other list members.
  6. Include your name, your organization, and your e-mail address in messages to the list, as some subscribers use e-mail software that removes the header information from incoming mail. This is also a courtesy to other list members, and shows that you are willing to stand behind what you say.
  7. If you are going to be out of the office, and you set up an autoresponder (e.g. "Hi, I'm out of the office until next week . . .") on your e-mail account, remember to postpone mail from the list before you leave. If you don't, everyone who posts a message to the list will get your autoresponse.
  8. Turn off html formatting when you post a message to the list. Almost all e-mail programs allow you to send messages as plain text, without the embellishments of html. The html code in messages appears as lengthy chunks of useless text in the digest version of the list, and users reading their e-mail on mobile devices with limited bandwidth shouldn't have to download all that extra html formatting info just to read the text of your message.
  9. If your e-mail address is going to change, remember to unsubscribe from the list before the change. If you forget to do this ahead of time, you will probably not be able to do so once your address has changed. Failing to unsubscribe when your address changes or 'goes away' is what usually causes those error messages about undeliverable mail that people who post messages to the list receive.
  10. If you are about to post a strongly worded message, or a reply to a message which you disagree with, consider postponing it overnight. You may decide to rework it after the heat of the moment has cooled a bit.

Thanks to Judy Janes and the University of California - Davis for managing and hosting law-lib. 

6 June 2016

Christopher Noe
Assistant Director / Head of Public Services
Grisham Law Library
University of Mississippi