Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(May 1995)

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Subject: Purpose of digests ?
From: Andrew Cormack <scoanc @ thor . cf . ac . uk>
Date: Mon, 15 May 1995 15:21:59 +0100 (BST)
To: list-managers @ greatcircle . com
Reply-to: Cormack @ cardiff . ac . uk

I'm a little confused about the purpose of a digest list. Perhaps someone 
can shed a bit of light ?

It strikes me that a digest should be a periodic update to inform readers
of the traffic on a given list. Then, if a particular article looks
interesting, based on subject/author/whatever the user can retrieve the
relevant archive file to get the full text of the message. To achieve 
this a digest should contain only a summary of each message, perhaps the 
date, subject and sender fields.  A user susbscribed to a digest list 
thus has a reduced amount of e-mail to read, but does not miss out on 
anything, provided the other correspondents use subjects sensibly.

However this is *not* the type of digest implemented by Majordomo or, as 
far as I am aware, Listserv. With these systems, each digest contains all 
the texts of all the messages during the period, *plus* a list of 
subjects. The reader of digest list thus gets an even larger hit on their 
mailbox than the reader of the un-digestified list though at longer 

Are there any systems which provide the sort of digest I have described, 
or is the MD/listserv type all-pervading ? Is this what users want ?


       | Andrew Cormack               | email: cormack @
 cardiff .
 ac .
 uk     |
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       | University of Wales, Cardiff |                                  |

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