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I will assume you have some working knowledge of the Internet unless you have accessed this page with the assistance of a friend or family member. I will attempt to explain this in easy to understand terms and avoid as much technical information as possible. It would be best to read all the information then go back and try the links.
Long before there was the World Wide Web (the graphic and interactive internet as we now know it), there were small computer programs that allowed people to communicate with one another over the internet. These communities of people sharing similar interests and goals evolved into newsgroups and mailing lists.
There are literally tens of thousands of newsgroups and mailing lists today . . . . usually dedicated to a specific topic or interest . . . . a place where people can share ideas and thoughts, seek answers or pose questions. Newsgroups and mailing lists are free, and subscribing to one can be as simple as sending an email message. This is not a traditional subscription, you do not receive a magazine or printed material . . . . all information and correspondence is transmitted and received by computer.
There is a wealth of information available through newsgroups and mailing lists. Many people find them to be the most useful and beneficial part of the internet.
Newsgroup: If you have an internet access account with AOL, Compuserve etc. . . .or an ISP (Internet Service Provider) you will most likely be able to subscribe to a newsgroup. The only requirement is your ISP must have a newsgroup server (that's just a fancy name for a computer that collects and sends newsgroup messages). If you are using a later version of Netscape or Internet Explorer we will attempt to check your connection with your ISP in a moment.
First, a newsgroup is like a room full of people discussing a topic . . . . by means of computers. If you walk by the room you can hear or rather read everything that is being discussed. No one is refused entry into the room and you can sit and listen (read the discussion on a computer screen) or join in on the discussion. You may leave at any time and come back later if you want.
If you are using Netscape or Internet Explorer let's try your connection after reading the following paragraph. It will explain what you should see when you click on the link to test your connection.
If all is well, you should see a new window with message titles from the newsgroup (news.newuser.question) you just subscribed to. If your connection is bad an error message window will appear. Contact your internet service provider and they can assist you in setting up your browser or provide you with a small computer program that will allow you to subscribe to newsgroups. Now let's try it. Click on the following link.
news.newusers.questions (this is the name of a real newsgroup)
Well? Hopefully things went as planned and you are subscribed to the (news.newusers.questions) newsgroup. Unsubscribing from a newsgroup is just as easy. Although dependent upon the type of program you use to view newsgroups, it is similar to the commands in deleting an email message.
If you are accessing the internet from a public facility such as a library or from work, you may find the facility does not have a newsgroup server. In that event, click on the following link:
Search Deja News where you can view and read recent postings to the (news.newusers.questions) newsgroup.
Are you totally confused yet? It seems more complex than it really is. Just like anything else, the more you do it the more comfortable you'll get. Don't be afraid . . . . you can't mess up your computer either. Click here to return to the MossRehab ResourceNet Newsgroup Webpage and find a newsgroup that is appropriate for your needs or interest.
For more information about newsgroups visit:
Joining a Usenet Community http://www.eeicom.com/eye/utw/96dec.html
Deja News http://www.dejanews.com/info/usenet_faq.shtml
Mailing List (Listserv): If you are able to send and receive email on your computer you will be able to subscribe to and participate in a mailing list. If your email account does not function properly, contact your ISP (internet service provider) for instructions on how to set up your account.
As mentioned above, a mailing list is usually dedicated to a specific topic. These can be hobbies, health related issues, jobs etc. A mailing list is more private than a newsgroup and therefore subscribing to one takes a little more effort. Think of a mailing list as a private club or organization. You must become a member before you can share information. There is a leader (listserv owner) who collects all the messages and then distributes them to all the members via email.
To subscribe to a list you must send a "subscribe to" message to the listserv. All messages and commands (subscribe, unsubscribe etc.) are sent and received via email.
Click on the link below for instructions on how to subscribe to the TravAble (Travel for the Disabled) mailing list. Unlike our list of newsgroups, you will not automatically subscribe to a mailing list. You must follow the links for instructions.
Click here to return to the MossRehab ResourceNet Mailing List Webpage.
For more information about Mailing Lists visit:
International Federation Of Library Associations And Institutions http://www.nlc-bnc.ca/ifla/I/training/listserv/lists.htm
TERENA Guide to Network Resource Tools
Newsgroups and Mailing Lists are an excellent means of communicating with others. Please take advantage of this invaluable and free service. There is so much knowledge to be shared and gained.
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