Digest problem: Partial solution

Subject: Digest problem: Partial solution
From: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey <HIGGINS -at- FNAL -dot- BITNET>
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1993 11:41:00 CST

Hi. Bill Higgins, engineering physicist, sometime tech writer and
editor, and mediocre baritone ukulele player, here.

I see that Mark Stevens and William Dubie requested a periodic digest
of messages to this list. It's not available. Alternatives discussed

1. Wait for a new revision of the LISTSERV software.
2. Gateway the TECHWR-L group to Usenet, to benefit those lucky enough
to have Usenet access.

There is another possiblility, already implemented. It doesn't give
*quite* what Mark and Bill want, but maybe it's close.

At the whim of the list administrator (in our case, Eric Ray),
LISTSERV can save all its traffic in a monthly or weekly logfile. At
the moment TECHWR-L is logged monthly; all the chatter from March 1993
is saved in a file called TECHWR-L LOG9303. You can "subpoena" files
from the friendly robot named LISTSERV -at- OSUVM1, the host that maintains
this list. Send the message (either in the body of an e-mail message
or by "Bitnet interactive message"):


and LISTSERV will ship you a file listing the most recent monthly logs of
traffic on this list. The name format is

Listname LOGyymm

where "yy" are the last two digits year and "mm" is the number of the

Suppose you read this file and decide you want
to read the messages from March 1993. Send the message:


and LISTSERV will send you the traffic file. Yesterday it had 4475 lines
(you techwriters are a loquacious bunch!). If this huge volume
continues, Eric may wish to make logging weekly. In this case the
filenames are

Listname LOGyymmA (Traffic from first week of month)
Listname LOGyymmB (Traffic from second week)

The possibility of logging list traffic is available to list-owners
when they set up a LISTSERV list (such as TECHWR-L), and many take
advantage of it. It is a wonderful feature for net-surfing, when you
become aware of a list but haven't subscribed yet. (A few list owners
require that you become a subscriber before you're allowed to GET the

Unlike an authentic digest, which just appears in your mailbox, this
method requires some effort on your part. But I have found that it's
minimal. I find myself thinking "I wonder what the tech writers have
been up to lately?" In much less than a minute I can compose and fire
off a request for the latest logfiles, and they usually arrive within
an hour.

As long as I'm giving netsurfing advice...

How do you become aware of new lists? Send the command LIST GLOBAL to
any LISTSERV and it will shoot back a file of the world's 3700-plus
Bitnet lists. You can also subscribe to NEW-LIST at LISTSERV -at- NDSUVM1,
which carries announcements of many new lists as they appear (that's
how I found out about this one).

LISTSERV is also equipped with database tools that can search through
a list's logs for particular message content or dates. Instructions
on using it (I think it only works if you're on an IBM VM node or a
Vax VMS node) are complicated. To learn about it, send the message


to your nearest LISTSERV robot.

Needless to say, this has come in *real* handy for all sorts of
purposes! And I think it would be useful to any net-hip scholar.

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