AUTOCAT FAQ 2007

Conventions used in this document:
UPPER CASE: Commands in this document are given in all upper case to make them stand out but in reality case is irrelevant; you can use upper case, lower case, or a combination.

Square brackets [ ] are used to indicate a generic term in a command that needs to be replaced with specific wording, e.g.,
SEARCH [search argument] IN AUTOCAT , e.g.,
SEARCH (CONGRESS OR LC) AND (CLASSIF* NOT (SUBJECT OR LCSH)) IN AUTOCAT SINCE 96/12/23

LIST OF FREQUENTLY-ASKED-QUESTIONS


  1. What is Autocat?

  2. Whom do I contact when I have a problem related to the list?

  3. How do I send a message to be distributed to all subscribers?

  4. Can non-subscribers send messages to Autocat?

  5. Are messages from subscribers reviewed prior to being distributed?

  6. To what address should I send a subscription request or a command to change the status of my subscription?

  7. Do I have to use special wording or syntax to issue a command to LISTSERV?

  8. Instead of receiving multiple messages from Autocat each day I prefer to receive only one, that contains the full text of all messages distributed during that day. Is there any way I can do that?

  9. I am interested in reading only a small number of Autocat messages each day and don't want to have to go through a full Digest or all the individual mail messages. Is there any way I can get a list of messages distributed daily from which I can then select those that seem of interest to me?

  10. Can I receive Autocat through a newsreader rather than a subscription?

  11. If I wish to stop receiving Autocat for a brief period (because I am away from the library for holiday, conference attendance, sickness, etc.) do I need to unsubscribe from Autocat?

  12. If I set Autocat to NOMAIL how do I resume receiving it?

  13. What are some of the Autocat default options?

  14. How do I find out what my subscription options are?

  15. Can I get a list of the Autocat subscribers?

  16. Is there a way I can find out if there was previous discussion of a topic of interest to me in Autocat?

  17. What do I receive in response to an archives search?

  18. Does Autocat maintain files?

  19. If I want to issue several commands to LISTSERV can I include them all in one message or do I need to send a separate message for each?

  20. What kind of problems can occur with my subscription and what are their solutions?

  21. How do I subscribe to Autocat?

  22. How do I get off Autocat?

  23. Are there any regulations regarding what I can send or how I should send it; i.e., what is the appropriate Netiquette?

  24. What is the copyright status of messages posted to Autocat?


1. What is Autocat?

A. Autocat is a semi-moderated electronic discussion list. It is an international list devoted to the topics of library cataloging and authority control.

2. Whom do I contact when I have a problem related to the list?

A. Send a message to: AUTOCAT-REQUEST@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU and one of the owners will respond.

3. How do I send a message to be distributed to all subscribers?

A. Send an email message to: AUTOCAT@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU

4. Can non-subscribers send messages to Autocat?

A. Yes; but messages from non-subscribers are first detoured to one of the listowners to be approved before being forwarded to the list. If the listowner determines the message is appropriate it is forwarded to the list without modification. In rare cases when the message does not seem clear the listowner may return it to the poster asking that it be clarified.

5. Are messages from subscribers reviewed prior to being distributed?

A. No, with a few exceptions. One exception is that all new subscribers are automatically set to REVIEW status (that is the list's default). If subscribers repeatedly break list rules they are set to REVIEW status. Messages from subscribers who are set to REVIEW status are automatically detoured to one of the listowners to be previewed. Aside from these exceptions messages from subscribers are distributed directly without any human intervention.

6. To what address should I send a subscription request or a command to change the status of my subscription?

A. Address such commands to: LISTSERV@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU

Messages sent to this address do not need a subject line.

7. Do I have to use special wording or syntax to issue a command to LISTSERV?

A. Yes to both parts of the question. Since LISTSERV is a program it can only implement commands that are sent to it using specified wording in a specified syntax.

The usual syntax is: command listname option
e.g., SET AUTOCAT NOMAIL

See The Command Options page for more information.

8. Instead of receiving multiple messages from Autocat each day I prefer to receive only one, that contains the full text of all messages distributed during that day. Is there any way I can do that?

A. Yes; send LISTSERV the command SET AUTOCAT DIGEST

9. I am interested in reading only a small number of Autocat messages each day and don't want to have to go through a full Digest or all the individual mail messages. Is there any way I can get a list of messages distributed daily from which I can then select those that seem of interest to me?

A. Yes; send LISTSERV the command SET AUTOCAT INDEX

Each day you will be sent a list of the subject lines of that day's messages with instructions on how to retrieve those messages of interest to you.

10. Can I receive Autocat through a newsreader rather than a subscription?

A. No. You could for several years; Autocat was gatewayed to the News Group BIT.LISTSERV.AUTOCAT. But by 1998 the service had deteriorated to such an extent that the AUTOCAT listowners decided to close down the gateway; this was done near the end of May 1998.

Sometime weeks would go by with no messages being distributed to the News Group. Even when messages were distributed they formed only a portion of those distributed over the list. News Group readers were thus given a false picture of the traffic on the list and often missed important messages. In addition, the News Group suffered from the presence of spam messages that did not appear on the list. For these reasons the listowners decided to cut the connection to the NewsGroup.

11. If I wish to stop receiving Autocat for a brief period (because I am away from the library for holiday, conference attendance, sickness, etc.) do I need to unsubscribe from Autocat?

A. No; you can temporarily suspend delivery of your Autocat mail by sending the SET AUTOCAT NOMAIL command to the LISTSERV address given in no. 6 above.

12. If I set Autocat to NOMAIL how do I resume receiving it?

A. Send LISTSERV the command SET AUTOCAT MAIL

This command works whether or not you are set to receive individual mail messages (MAIL), a DIGEST, or an INDEX. It will cause the resumption of delivery in the format you had previously set.

13. What are some of the Autocat default options?

A. REPRO This means that if you send a message to Autocat you will receive a copy of that message as part of your subscription. If you prefer not to receive copies of your own messages you can change this option by sending LISTSERV the command SET AUTOCAT NOREPRO; however we strongly urge that you retain the default option since that enables you to be sure your message was distributed.

REVIEW This means that your messages are first sent to a listowner to be reviewed for appropriateness in content and editing. After you post your first appropriate message, one of the the listowners will change the option to NOREVIEW and all future messages that you post will be distributed directly without human review. Only a listowner can change this option.

14. How do I find out what my subscription options are?

A. Send LISTSERV the message QUERY AUTOCAT

15. Can I get a list of the Autocat subscribers?

A. No. Because of concerns about the privacy of subscribers (and to prevent the subscription list from falling into the hands of spammers) only a listowner can get a copy of the subscription list. If you need a copy or the address of someone you believe to be a subscriber, ask one of the listowners.

However you can get a copy of the Autocat header which shows how the list is configured, gives the names and addresses of the listowners, and gives the number of subscribers per country. To obtain the header send LISTSERV the command REVIEW AUTOCAT BYCOUNTRY

16. Is there a way I can find out if there was previous discussion of a topic of interest to me in Autocat?

A. Yes. All Autocat messages as of January 1991 are archived and can be retrieved by doing a keyword search. See http://www.cwu.edu/~dcc/Autocat/Archives-search.html for specifics.

17. What do I receive in response to an archives search?

A. LISTSERV will send you an index containing the subject lines and examples of the use of your search terms in the messages retrieved, plus instructions on how to obtain the full text of the messages that seem relevant to you.

18. Does Autocat maintain files?

A. Yes. There are two (2) types of files maintained by Autocat: 1) Logs, usually roughly weekly in length, of all messages posted to Autocat from 1991 to the current day. These form the archives database and may be searched as described above.

2) Reports and other documents that were too long to post as mail messages. These latter may be stored temporarily, e.g., reports of ALA meetings are usually posted for six months until replaced by reports from a later meeting. These cannot be searched using the database search mechanism.

Each file has a name that consists of two parts, a filename proper and a so-called filetype. To obtain a list of the currently available files send LISTSERV the message INDEX AUTOCAT. To obtain a specific file, whether a whole weekly log or a document or other report, send LISTSERV the command GET , e.g. GET AUTOCAT FAQ or GET SMALL LIBRARY or GET AUTOCAT LOG9401B

19. If I want to issue several commands to LISTSERV can I include them all in one message or do I need to send a separate message for each?

A. You can include them all in the same message; however each command must be on a separate line, e.g.,
QUERY AUTOCAT
SET AUTOCAT NOMAIL

You can get a brief list of all available commands by sending LISTSERV the single word command HELP while a fuller explanation of the commands can be obtained by sending the command INFO REFCARD to LISTSERV.

20. What kind of problems can occur with my subscription and what are their solutions?

A. All sorts. If you have difficulties with your subscription, email us at AUTOCAT-REQUEST@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU and we'll do all we can to help you resolve the problem.

21. How do I subscribe to Autocat?

A. Send LISTSERV the command SUBSCRIBE AUTOCAT ,
e.g., SUBSCRIBE AUTOCAT Janet L Doe

Note: the abbreviate SUB is acceptable

You will be asked to confirm your subscription. Follow the instructions given within 48 hours or your subscription request will be cancelled. This CONFIRM step serves two purposes: 1) it ensures that no-one else can subscribe you to a list without your knowledge; and 2) it confirms that mail can reach you at the e-mail address from which you sent your subscription request.

22. How do I get off Autocat?

A. Send LISTSERV the command UNSUB AUTOCAT

23. Are there any regulations regarding what I can send or how I should send it; i.e., what is the appropriate Netiquette?

For the answer to that question click on AUTOCAT Netiquette

24. What is the copyright status of messages posted to Autocat?

Go to The copyright status of messages posted to AUTOCAT

Last revised April 2, 2007

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