ROOTS-L ArchivesArchiver > ROOTS > 1988-05 > 0580486855
From: Marty Hoag <>
Subject: Usenet/BITNET and soc.roots and Roots-L
Date: Tue, 24 May 88 09:20:55 CDT
I posted this on soc.roots today but also wanted to post it here
for those subscribed to Roots-L (There have been links down between
here and Alf lately...). Some questions came up on the USENET News
group soc.roots about the Roots-L list and how to access it.
For those who don't know, USENET News (or NETNEWS) is a bit
different than a mailing list in that ONE copy of every item in
hundreds of groups is sent to each host running the news software.
Users can then access a database of items, reviewing topics of
interest and being shown items they have not yet read. This is
usually separate from the mail facilities. There is news software
on the UUCP network (where it started - USENET News), the Internet
(ARPAnet), and BITNET. The software is available on many different
----- The item from soc.roots newsgroup -----
There have been a couple of questions about how to crosspost items on
Roots-L from users who are on USENET News (ie. read soc.roots).
We host the Roots-L list here in Fargo, ND USA for the coordinator and
force behind Roots-L, Alf Christophersen in Oslo, Norway (the power of
When we started Roots-L we were aware of the soc.roots group on
Usenet News or Netnews. However, many sites do not have the software
to process and read Usenet news. Alf and I decided that it would be ideal
to have a "megagroup" consisting of everyone reading and posting to
soc.roots via Usenet/Netnews and everyone reading and mailing to Roots-L.
However, we could not find a good bidirectional gateway at the time so
we decided to do this by hand. We split up the duties this way. I feed
Alf items from soc.roots via Bitnet/EARN. If they originated on soc.roots
then he posts them to Roots-L. Likewise, I post items originally posted
to Roots-L to soc.roots. This works ok except on days then there are
a dozen new postings... :-)
I still have dreams of being able to make this more automatic but there
are critical problems of "message identification" and loop prevention.
Right now the big problems are network and human related - we might miss
an item or two. (But Dave McCoy - your item did get here! It is hard
to resist saying your article was the real McCoy but I will try... :-).
Anyway, if you wish to subscribe directly to Roots-L also (or only...)
there are gateways available from UUCP to BITNET and back... Although
there are sometimes some problems... From UUCP you would send MAIL to
with the FIRST LINE of the BODY (text) of the mail (the line after the
blank line after the headers...) saying:
sub roots-l firstname lastname
--------- -------- <--- your name!
We have some problems from UUCP users if their mailer puts two FROM
lines in the outgoing mail... That is undefined in RFC822 and LISTSERV
is pretty picky about it.
Once you are subscribed, you will receive the mail from Roots-L as
it is distributed by the LISTSERV software. To send a mail item to be
posted on Roots-L you would simply send mail to:
There are other commands too. Just remember - to manipulate your
subscription or to get information (Eg. you can send an INFO command)
you send to LISTSERV. To have mail sent immediately to the whole list
you mail it to Roots-L.
I think it would be great if the soc.roots/Roots-L would become a
powerful tool for researchers and could be accessible from many
related institutions (archives, etc.).
I hope this helps clarify the issue a bit. Alf Christophersen is
really the motivator for this list. I am not really very active in
genealogy but have friends and relatives who are and had the LISTSERV
to support the list. Actually, Oslo and Fargo are not so far apart if
you consider the number of closely related people in Norway and North
ND Higher Education Computer Network US Mail: NDSU Computer Center
Phone: (701)-237-8639 PO Box 5164 / UCCS
Bitnet: (NOTE 0 = ZERO) Fargo, ND 58105