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OLAC-L FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)
UPPER CASE: Commands 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 OLAC-L <date argument>
e.g., SEARCH (VHS OR DVD) AND VIDEO* IN OLAC-L SINCE 99/12/23
- What is the OLAC-L?
- How do I subscribe to the OLAC-L?
- How do I get off the OLAC-L?
- Whom do I contact when I have a problem related to the list?
- How do I send a message to be distributed to all subscribers?
- Can non-subscribers send messages to OLAC-L?
- Are messages from subscribers reviewed prior to being distributed?
- What are some of the command options for the OLAC-L?
- To what address should I send a subscription request or a command to change the status of my subscription?
- Do I have to use special wording or syntax to issue a command to LISTSERV?
- Instead of receiving multiple messages from the OLAC-L 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?
- If I wish to stop receiving the OLAC-L for a brief period (because I am away from the library for holiday, conference attendance, sickness, etc.) do I need to unsubscribe from the OLAC-L?
- If I set OLAC-L to NOMAIL how do I resume receiving it?
- What are some of the OLAC-L default options?
- How do I find out what my subscription options are?
- Can I get a list of the OLAC-L subscribers?
- Is there a way I can find out if there was previous discussion of a topic of interest to me in the OLAC-L? Is the OLAC-L archived?
- What do I receive in response to an archives search?
- 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?
- What kind of problems can occur with my subscription and what are their solutions?
- Are there any regulations regarding what I can send or how I should send it; i.e., what is the appropriate Netiquette?
- Can I send an attachment to the OLAC-L?
1. What is the OLAC-L?
The Online Audiovisual Catalogers electronic discussion list (OLAC-L) began in 1998 and distributes information concerning audiovisual cataloging and the activities of OLAC.
OLAC-L provides information and discussion on timely communications from the AV cataloging community on nonprint material including computer files, graphic materials, interactive multimedia, Internet resources, maps, microforms, motion pictures and videorecordings, music scores, realia, sound recordings, games/toys, and kits.
The list also provides information on OLAC's biennial conferences, AV-related meetings at ALA, job vacancy announcements related to AV cataloging, and new information added to the OLAC Web site: http://www.olacinc.org/
2. How do I subscribe to the OLAC-L?
Send LISTSERV@OCLC.ORG the command SUBSCRIBE OLAC-L
e.g., SUBSCRIBE OLAC-L 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.
3. How do I get off the OLAC-L?
Send LISTSERV@OCLC.ORG the command UNSUB OLAC-L
Do NOT include your name in the UNSUBSCRIBE command; doing so will cause the LISTSERV software to reject your command.
4. Whom do I contact when I have a problem related to the list?
OLAC-L has a listowner who can answer your specific questions relating to the OLAC-L operations and features, including problems with your subscription status. If you have such questions, send a PRIVATE e-mail message to Teressa Keenan ; do NOT send such messages to the OLAC-L itself.
5. How do I send a message to be distributed to all subscribers?
Address messages to: OLAC-L@OCLC.org
6. Can non-subscribers send messages to the OLAC-L?
No, messages from non-subscribers of the OLAC-L are returned to the poster. However, you do not have to be a member of OLAC to be a subscriber to the OLAC-L.
7. Are messages from subscribers reviewed prior to being distributed?
No. Messages from subscribers are distributed directly without any human intervention.
8.What are some of the command options for the OLAC-L?
For the answer to this question, see Selected OLAC-L Command Options
9. To what address should I send a subscription request or a command to change the status of my subscription?
Address commands to: LISTSERV@OCLC.ORG
Messages sent to this address do not need a subject line.
10. Do I have to use special wording or syntax to issue a command to LISTSERV?
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 OLAC-L NOMAIL
11. Instead of receiving multiple messages from the OLAC-L 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?
Yes; send LISTSERV@OCLC.ORG the command SET OLAC-L DIGEST
12. If I wish to stop receiving the OLAC-L for a brief period (because I am away from the library for holiday, conference attendance, sickness, etc.) do I need to unsubscribe from the OLAC-L?
No; you can temporarily suspend delivery of your OLAC-L mail by sending the SET OLAC-L NOMAIL command to LISTSERV@OCLC.ORG
13. If I set the OLAC-L to NOMAIL how do I resume receiving it?
Send LISTSERV@OCLC.ORG the command SET OLAC-L 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.
14. What are some of the OLAC-L default options?
REPRO This means that if you send a message to the OLAC-L 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@OCLC.ORG the command SET OLAC-L NOREPRO; however it is strongly suggested that you retain the default option since that enables you to be sure your message was distributed.
15. How do I find out what my subscription options are?
Send LISTSERV@OCLC.ORG the message QUERY OLAC-L
16. Can I get a list of the OLAC-L subscribers?
Yes. Send LISTSERV@OLAC.ORG the command REVIEW OLAC-L BY NAME
17. Is there a way I can find out if there was previous discussion of a topic of interest to me in the OLAC-L? Is the OLAC-L archived?
Yes. All OLAC-L messages are archived. You can either view the archives on the Web at: http://listserv.oclc.org/archives/olac-l.html or you can send LISTSERV@OCLC.ORG a SEARCH command using the following syntax:
SEARCH [search arguments] IN OLAC-L [date limitations].
The Search Arguments segment (without the brackets) supports truncation, Boolean logic, and nesting within parentheses.
To obtain all messages posted on a specific day or days regardless of subject, use the wildcard * as the search argument, e.g., SEARCH * IN OLAC-L
The Date Limitations segment (without the brackets) is optional except when you are doing a wildcard search. When dates are used they must be given in the form YY/MM/DD.
To search all messages posted after a certain date use:
SINCE YY/MM/DD, e.g., SINCE 99/07/14 or
FROM YY/MM/DD, e.g., FROM 00/07/14
To search all messages posted prior to a certain date use:
TO YY/MM/DD, e.g., TO 01/05/13
To search all messages posted within a specific time period use:
FROM YY/MM/DD TO YY/MM/DD, e.g., FROM 01/12/25 TO 02/01/02
To search all messages posted for a specific date combine FROM and TO, using the same date in each:
FROM YY/MM/DD TO YY/MM/DD, e.g., FROM 01/01/06 TO 01/01/06
18. What do I receive in response to an archives search?
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.
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?
You can include them all in the same message; however each command must be on a separate line, e.g.,
SET OLAC-L NOMAIL
You can get a brief list of all available commands by sending LISTSERV@OCLC.ORG the single word command HELP while a fuller explanation of the commands can be obtained by sending the command INFO REFCARD to LISTSERV@OCLC.ORG
20. What kind of problems can occur with my subscription and what are their solutions?
The major problems are 1) the subscriber is unable to manage his or her subscription, and 2) the list mail fails to reach the subscriber.
1) If you send a command to LISTSERV and get back the response that you are not a subscriber, that usually means that your e-mail address has changed and no longer matches the one under which you subscribed. The change may have occurred months earlier but you were unaware of it because your computing center had provided a forward link between your old address and the new one, thus making the change invisible when you receive mail. It is only when you attempt to send a command to LISTSERV, which requires an exact match between your return address and that shown in the OLAC-L subscription list before it will implement your command, that the change becomes obvious.
If you can still access the earlier account, logon to it and unsubscribe from OLAC-L (see question 3 above) then logon to your new account and subscribe again to the OLAC-L. The order in which you perform these steps is immaterial.
If your old account is no longer accessible send a message to the listowner (see question 4 above for address), tell her your address has changed, and ask her to delete your old subscription. Subscribe to the OLAC-L from your new account.
2) Every day some messages distributed to the OLAC-L fails to reach one or more subscribers. This failure occurs for a variety of reason: the subscriber has a full mailbox which cannot accept any new mail, the subscriber's local computing center is experiencing hardware or software difficulties, there is a problem somewhere on the route between LISTSERV in Buffalo and the subscriber's site, the subscriber no longer has an account on the local host, etc.
While private messages that cannot be delivered are returned to the poster, undeliverable list mail is returned to the listowner and not to the poster. (Some mailers are improperly configured and cause such errors to be sent to the poster. If you receive such an error message forward it to the listowner (see question 4 above for address) and then discard it).
If there are only a few error messages related to a specific subscription address, the listowner assumes that the problem, whatever it was, was a brief one and is now over. The listowner therefore ignores those error messages.
If, however, there are numerous error messages emanating from a specific address, the listowner must take action to prevent being flooded with error messages related to that subscription. The listowner's option, in terms of decreasing severity, are to delete the subscription.
21. 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 this question, see OLAC-L Netiquette
22. Can I send an attachment to the OLAC-L?
No. Due to the fact that viruses can be spread through attached files, the OLAC-L will not accept attachments. If you need to include information from a file, copy/paste the information in your posting.
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