Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(May 1995)

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Subject: Re: Purpose of digests ?
From: frjones @ sa . mnet . uswest . com (Frank R. Jones)
Date: Mon, 15 May 1995 09:09:05 -0600
To: Cormack @ cardiff . ac . uk
Cc: list-managers @ greatcircle . com, frjones @ sa
In-reply-to: <Pine . OSF . 3 . 91 . 950515151016 . 22021B-100000 @ thor> (message from Andrew Cormack on Mon, 15 May 1995 15:21:59 +0100 (BST))

andrew cromack wrote:

=>   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 

	Then this should be called a summary, or compendium, not a
digest. The point as *I* understand it (meaning my opinion) is that
the purpose of a digest is not so much to reduce the amount of email
(in bytes) but the number of mailings. It is better to receive one
large mailing rather than 50+ individual mailings, cluttering up your

=>   anything, provided the other correspondents use subjects sensibly.

	this is a very LARGE caveat, as this rarely happens in a thread.

=>   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 
=>   intervals.

=>   Are there any systems which provide the sort of digest I have described, 
=>   or is the MD/listserv type all-pervading ? 

	Not to my knowledge. it wouldn't be hard to to create a
summary from the digest code, since the summary is already there.

=>						Is this what users want ?

	one assumes this question is answerable?

	Again in my experience, digested mail is preferable to
burst/single messages, in that other mail doesn't get lost in the
flurry of several mailing list's messages coming in sproadically.

Franklin R. Jones                              Unix OS & Network Specialist
					       Paranet, Inc.
consultant to: USWest Service Assurance	       7900 E. Union Ave,Suite 1100
frjones @
 sa .
 mnet .
 uswest .
 com		       Denver, Colorado       80237

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