An electronic discussionfor library-based World-Wide Web managers.
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The Web4Lib electronic discussion is for thediscussion of issues relating to the creation, management, andsupport of library-based World-Wide Web servers, services, andapplications. Any questions regarding the pertinence of anyparticular topic should be sent to one or more of the listowners.
Web4Lib is specifically aimed toward librarians andlibrary staff involved in World-Wide Web management, but anyone iswelcome to join the discussion. Those not interested in alibrary-oriented Web discussion may wish to join one of the generalWeb discussionshosted by the W3 Organization. There are presently around 4,700subscribers world wide and an average of 5-10 messages a day.
The list was formerly run by Roy Tennant and has had several hosts:
- The University of California at Berkeley
- The University of Notre Dame
- The University of Cincinnati
Itis an un-moderated list, but only subscribers may post messages.The software program LISTSERV is usedtoprovide an automated method for persons to subscribe, unsubscribe,etc. If you have any difficulties, please contact one of the list admins.
The following policy governs all postings to the Web4Lib list.These policies will be enforced by the Web4Lib Advisory Board. Please note thatrepeated violations of these policies may result in the removal ofoffenders from the list.
- All messages must relate, however slightly, to the generaltopic of World Wide Web systems and libraries or library staff. Thelist owner and Advisory Board interprets this rather broadly, but messages that areclearly off-topic will not be tolerated.
- Advertisements are not appropriate. This includes, but is notlimited to, announcements of new products and free trials by thosewho stand to gain from such announcements. However, a simplestatement that offers a way to follow-up for more information on aservice or product is tolerated if it accompanies a substantivemessage discussing a subject appropriate to the list. Announcementsof conferences, workshops, new publications, and position openingsappropriate to the topic of the list are allowed.
- Virus warnings (not bug reports), are strongly discouraged.Inaddition, before forwarding information about a virus or some other purported disaster you may wish tocheck Snopes.com and Virus Hoaxes forhoax information, urban legends, and other rumors.
- Personal attacks such as name calling and personal insults willnot be tolerated. Comments that are intended only to enrage therecipient rather than contribute to thoughtful discussion areprohibited.
- All postings must be free of copyright restrictions that limitdistribution. For example, posting a significant amount of acopyrighted work verbatim requires the permission of the copyrightholder. To verify that such permission was obtained, all postingsof this nature must include a statement that this is the case.
- The preferred format for list messages is plain text.Subscribers whose mail clients default to other formats such asHTML should configure them to send plain text when posting to thelist. Sending MIME file attachments of any kind is prohibited; toprevent the spread of viruses, etc., any attachments areautomatically stripped from your message before posting.
- All posts to Web4Lib are permanently stored in the publicly accessiblearchive.
Guidelines for Appropriate List Behavior
The following guidelines are offered as advice for how to bestparticipate in this discussion in a manner that will bothcontribute to the experience of all readers and also reflect wellon you.
- Say something substantial. Simply saying "I agree" (inso many words) or "I disagree" (in so many words) does not meetthis guideline. Specific technical questions are, however, quiteappropriate, as are brief answers to such questions.
- Say something new. Mere redundancy will not convince anopponent of their error. Explaining the same argument differentlyin an attempt to make them see the light has not been proven to bean effective strategy.
- "Getting the last word" is for children. We're allbeyond the age when we should be concerned with being the one toend the argument. Just because you are the last to speak doesn'tmean you won the argument.
- Agree to disagree. The likelihood of convincing someoneto change a strongly held opinion is nil. State your case, but giveup on the idea of converting the heathen.
- Take "conversations" off the list. When list interactionbecomes two-sided (two individuals trading comments or arguments)it is a sign that you should take the discussion off the list andcorrespond with that person directly. If the discussion was ofinterest to the general membership you will see others posting onthe topic as well.
- Remember that you are being judged by the quality of yourcontributions. No matter whether you are employed or not, or acertain age, or have a certain education, you can create a goodprofessional reputation by how you contribute to a large electronicdiscussion like Web4Lib. On the other hand, you can ruin yourreputation even faster and easier.
- NEVER send email in anger. Go ahead and compose amessage in anger, since that may help you work through what you'reangry about, but don't send it. Sleep on it. You will nearly alwaysdecide to not send it or to recompose it. There's a reason forthat.
- Be civil. Treat others how you wish to be treated. Nomatter how insulting someone is to you, you will always look betterto the bystanders (of which there are many, I hasten to remind you)by responding politely.
- Respect the rights of others. An electronic discussionis a commons. Your right to post ends at the right of others to notbe insulted, badgered, or to have their time needlesslywasted.
Web4Lib began on May 12, 1994. The article "Web4Lib: The LibraryWeb Manager's Electronic Discussion List" in Ariadne describes the earlyhistory of the list.
Our German cousin InetBibcoincidentally alsobegan in May 1994. They have enjoyed even more success, sincethey have more subscribers and have had a conference for a number ofyears.