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Page: Main.EmailLists - Last Modified : 2016-06-18

I'm a strong believer in the value of online collaboration. That opinion has been formed in large part by my experience since the mid-1990s as an active participant on a number of academic and professional email lists and online forums. Most of these are listed below and linked to their own pages (on this site) with description and outlinks. On many of these pages I have also added links to messages I have posted. For the several lists I run or ran (noted with an asterisk [*]), the number is usually too large to merit copying here, so I just provide a link to the archives. The list of lists follows; further discussion follows that below.

The value of e-mail and online collaboration

E-mail lists are a well-established tool for collaboration, sharing news, research, and community building. The reasons for that are widely understood. In my case I have gained and I hope contributed a lot through this medium.

But so many!

Yes, there are quite a few. Many are specialized and are the main or only forums in areas that I work in or monitor. Some have ceased to exist and others are recent. In terms of my contributions, I do cross-post judiciously (at least I like to think), so that some messages will be linked more than once - i.e., under more than one list.

Why compile all this?

Over the years the volume of writing I've done and the number of ideas I've expressed in the medium of email has become significant enough that I sometimes joke that there is a book in all of it, but one that is laterally written. I've known this, but part of what brought me to thinking about it more actively is that the Google alerts  that I set to  my own name  occasionally (and inexplicably) bring up one or another of these old list postings.

Without overstating the value of email list content, I have come to see a value in grouping and linking these messages to facilitate access. Of course one can always search or browse the archives of the various lists (where they have been maintained), but that is time consuming. Moreover, the nature of archiving email lists buries material, layered in the strata of time, sometimes in multiple files or dispersed on separate sites. So if there is not a conscious effort to bring it back to the surface and organize in a single space, then useful information is effectively lost or at best encountered on a hit or miss basis in web searches - or by chance through a Google alert.

Therefore I decided to take a bit of time to list and link messages. At the very least it helps me to re-access this material, some of which I had forgotten about. Perhaps this might also be of interest and use to others - not just (or even) for what I wrote, but also as a way of accessing others' thoughts and broader information on the same topics.

Not all of what is so linked is actually my composition. In many cases there are useful items that I forwarded. This effort therefore also helps in keeping track of that information for future reference.

Again, this is not to pretend that every or even most past emails are worth revisiting, but at least a few are. And for the rest - or more to the point, for the totality (since I have tried to pull all my past posts up) - there is the to gain an impression of the overall thrust and expanse of my work.

Must take a lot of time?!

Not as much as it may seem. The first step is the right search, and then use of the "view source" of the list generated. I then can do a series of search and replaces in EmEditor in order to transform that into wiki markup. Then a few edits and voilĂ !

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