Usage Guidelines and FAQs about the SALIS-L Listserv

Purpose and Audience:

SALIS-L is: an electronic discussion list for members of Substance Abuse Librarians and Information Specialists. It provides for the rapid exchange of information, assistance, debate, and discussion of professional issues among SALIS members. Participation in the listserv is limited to SALIS members in the Full (including ELISAD) category.

SALIS-L is not for:

Questions from the general public.
Outside advertisements or market research. (see below)

Guidelines for Messages:

1. Only subscribed users can post messages.

Messages sent from non-subscribers are automatically rejected. Messages from subscribed members must be sent from the e-mail address known by the list software, or they cannot be accepted. (See below for Help with SALIS-L subscription.)

Send messages intended for all SALIS-L subscribers to:

2. Please keep postings within the scope of the list.

SALIS-L is primarily for matters of professional interest to substance abuse information professionals. Please use restraint with humorous, inspirational, and out-of-scope postings -- remember that your message will be sent to 100+ busy professionals all around the world.

3. Individual vs. Public Messages

Just as it is important to share public information with the whole group, private messages should remain just that - private. Send personal messages directly to individuals by entering the individual's address in the "to" field. When you want to write to an individual, don't just use the "reply" feature of your e-mail system to respond to a message from the SALIS-L list - if you do, your reply will go to the whole list instead of the individual.

SALIS members are often interested in others' queries, and appreciate reading answers to most questions; but, if you are soliciting multiple replies, such as in a survey or publication offering, as a courtesy you should ask for individual replies to your address. For some types of reference questions you might want to solicit individual responses, but offer to summarize the responses for the whole list. This technique allows the information to be shared with the whole list, but in a summary form rather than in bits and pieces.

4. Descriptive subject lines

Please use a clear, descriptive subject line. The more descriptive you are, the more likely people will read and respond to your posting. Here are a few samples of descriptive subjects lines and replies:
  • Subj: online assessment / intervention
  • Subj: Internat'l statistics on cirrhosis?
  • Subj: New medical marijuana booklet available
  • Subj: Job Posting: St. Louis, MO (USA)

    Please don't use generic subject lines such as "Help," "Need help," and "Need Info." When you respond to a posting, check the subject line to make sure it still reflects the topic at hand, and if needed, enter a new subject line about the new topic.

    To initiate a new discussion or request, start a new message with an appropriate subject line.

  • 5. Include your signature.

    Write your full name, affiliation, and e-mail address at the bottom of your message. Some subscribers receive e-mail messages with the header information stripped away by their local e-mail system, so they don't know the author of a particular posting unless the sender's name is included in the message text. Make it easy for people to contact you!

    6. Provide context.

    Every posting should begin with a concise introduction to the topic, or make reference to the topic of a previous posting. There are often several "threads" of discussion going on simultaneously, which makes unreferenced postings confusing to readers.

    A popular way of providing context is to quote verbatim from the original message. Please keep the quotations *short* and *relevant*. Cut out unnecessary text and repetitive signature information from previous senders. See # 7 below for suggestions on providing context for reference questions. Finally, please proofread your messages before sending to make sure they are complete and say what you meant to say.

    7. Reference requests

    SALIS-L should not be used as a substitute for your own investigative work. Use your local resources before turning to SALIS-L. When you do send a reference query, indicate where you have already checked.

    8. Requesting articles (interlibrary loan)

    Please use your local resources before turning to SALIS-L for help finding an article. Copyright and licensing agreements should be observed. Publications that are copyrighted should not be distributed over the SALIS list-serv. For more about ILL, please read these ILL Guidelines.

    8. Forwarded messages

    Messages may be forwarded from other lists if relevant to SALIS members, and if permitted by the original sender. Please cut out extraneous lines, but leave enough information to identify the original source. Messages from the SALIS-L list may be forwarded to others, but crediting the original sender or SALIS is appreciated. Use caution when forwarding SALIS-L messages to nonmembers; remember that they will not be able to reply directly to the list.

    10. "Thank you" and "me too" messages

    Send "thank you" mesages to individuals privately; if you've received the information needed, it's courteous to send a "got it" message to the list to let everyone else know. Other examples of messages that should be sent privately are: requests for copies of offered materials, and "me too" messages (as in, "send me a copy of that, too"), survey responses, and very specific replies to questions that are not likely to be of general interest.

    11. Humor

    Humor is appreciated, but please remember that humor in e-mail can easily be misinterpreted. Don't forward the many humorous e-mails that circulate on the Internet to SALIS-L; our list is intended primarily for professional use.

    12. Censorship

    SALIS-L is unmoderated; that means that what members post goes directly to all the other members. In order to keep the list useful, it is important that only pertinent messages are posted to the list. If a member consistently posts inappropriate messages, his or her subscription to the list may be terminated.

    13. Quality of Communication

    Debate about professional matters is welcome on SALIS-L. If you disagree with something posted on the list, you have every right to voice your objections - but politely. You may also express your complaints directly to the person responsible.

    14. Advertisements / Announcements

    SALIS-L does not accept ads from outside publishers or other vendors or commercial entities, etc. However, many members of SALIS work in organizations that publish materials; occasional announcements of new resources from a member's organization, either print or web-based, are appropriate if related to the interests of SALIS, as are announcements of conferences if they're relevant. Questions and discussion initiated by SALIS members about products or services are appropriate; this provides a forum for help and recommendations among colleagues on the list. Announcements of available jobs in the substance abuse information field are welcome.

    15. Mistakes

    Everyone makes them. Perfect people are not allowed to subscribe to SALIS-L. If you send a message to the list by mistake, you do not need to send an apology to the whole list unless the message might be truly offensive or personal. Assume that your colleagues will delete the unintended message and overlook your error!

    16. Other Posting Considerations

    Don't send long documents directly to the list. Describe the document and give instructions for retrieving it, or offer to send it to those interested. Try to keep postings as brief as possible. If you have a web site, consider making long documents available for downloading from the web.

    Plain text is the most universally acceptable format for messages; messages formatted in HTML or with graphics may not be readable to all users.

    Avoid (or explain) jargon, abbreviations or colloquial language that may be unknown to an international audience. Abbreviations such as "PST" (Pacific Standard Time) or "SAMHSA" may be completely familiar in the USA, but not worldwide.

    Refrain from sending unsubstantiated virus warnings, unless you are confident of their authenticity. Many virus warnings are actually hoaxes.

    Getting Your Default Password

    Your SALIS-L password allows you to access the SALIS-L message archives and also to change the configuration of your subscription, e.g. change e-mail address, temporarily postpone SALIS mail, etc.   A few things to remember if you access the password features:

    . Your SALIS-L password is NOT the same as the password for the Members Only section of the SALIS web site.

    . If you are already subscribed to the list, you DO NOT need to subscribe again.

    . You must have cookies enabled in order to send the password request, or else administrative changes will not take effect. You might need to lower your browser security in order to get the password.

    . At the bottom of each list message and web page is a link to the main page for the SALIS-L list. If you get lost and have to start over, go to the bottom and click on the list name, i.e. SALIS-L. The main page is the one to bookmark, since this where you'll find the link to archives and other features.

    1. To get your password the first time, or to get a reminder of your existing password, go to the SALIS-L Info page on the Web:
    2. Scroll down to the BOTTOM of the page.
    3. Go to the last option box next to the "Unsubscribe or edit options" button and type in your complete e-mail address.
    4. Click the "Unsubscribe or edit options" button. You will be directed to a SALIS-L Member Options page. [blue horizontal bars on this page]
    5. Scroll down to until you see the Password Reminder heading.
    6. Click the Remind button.
    7. A default password will be e-mailed to you, usually in minutes. On the SALIS-L mailing list membership configuration page (see below) you can change this password to something easier to remember.

    Changing Your SALIS-L Configuration

    If you want to change your mail configuration, e.g. change password, temporarily disable mail delivery, or switch to digest mode, the above instructions 1 though 4 apply.

    1. - 4. Same as above
    5. Enter your password. (If you have never changed your password, enter your default password.)
    6. Click the Log in button. You will be directed to the SALIS-L mailing list membership configuration page. [blue and yellow bars on this page]
    7. Scroll down the page to the section with the setting you want to modify. Be sure to click "submit my changes" at the bottom to save your new settings.

    Accessing the SALIS-L Archives

    1. Go to the SALIS-L Info page on the Web:

    If you have not yet logged in, a log in page will display.
                 1. Enter your email address.
                 2. Enter your password.
                 3. Click the Let me in button

    For Help With Your SALIS-L Subscription

    The SALIS-L list manager can easily handle postponing message, setting to digest mode, etc. Don't hesitate to ask for this help if you prefer that to the steps described above! Contact the SALIS-L list manager, Nancy Sutherland ( if you want help to:

    • Postpone messages temporarily (while you're on vacation, e.g.)
    • Unsubscribe to the SALIS list
    • Send SALIS-L mail from more than one account (e.g. home and work) and would like to have an "alias" subscription for the second account
    • Replace another SALIS member at your organization and want to switch the SALIS-L subscription to your name
    • Or if you have problems or questions about using SALIS-L.

    About SALIS



    Listserv Guidelines