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University Information Services

To send a message to a list use the address (where list-name is the name of the list). If you are a member of the list then, with most lists, your message will be sent directly to the list members. If a list is configured to moderate postings from members of the list your message may be held for consideration by the list manager/moderator, so there will be a delay before your message is sent. If you are trying to send a message to a list of which you are not a member then, by default, your message will be held for moderation. Some lists may be configured to automatically reject all non-member postings.

Accessing the @lists system

The top level page is

  • Cambridge users - the quickest way is to go to the top level page and select the Log in using Raven link. After you have logged in, the default page has a Search for List(s) facility and the names of any lists you are already on. The names are selectable links, so you can move quickly to the information page for the list. Remember to use the Logout link at the bottom of the page when you have finished.
  • Non-Cambridge users - click "Login locally" and then "first login". This will send a password reset link to your nominated email address. Once you have defined an email address and password, you can log into the system using the "Login locally" link.

How to find lists

Each list in Sympa has its own information page of the form For example, if the Department of Futile Studies had set up the list futile-students the list page would be If you know the name of the list, then you can go directly to the list's information page.

If you are unsure of the name then it is possible to search for a list. Go to the main @lists page, and then "Search for List(s)". Some lists are concealed and the names of these lists will not appear in the search results.

Subscribing to a list

To subscribe to a mailing list log in to Sympa and visit the List Home page for the list  ( A Subscribe link appears in the menu on the left. You can also subscribe to a list by sending an email to, with "subscribe list-name" as the subject or the first line of the message body.

In most cases your subscription request will be sent to the list owners for approval.

Unsubscribing from a list

To unsubscribe from a mailing list log in to Sympa and visit the List Home page for the list.An Unsubscribe link appears in the menu on the left. You can also unsubscribe to a list by sending an email to, with "unsubscribe list-name" as the subject or the first line of the message body.

What happens to your request depends on the way the list is configured. With some lists you will be sent a confirmation email, to which you must reply, with other lists your request will go to the list owners..

Setting your subscription options

A Subscriber Options link exists on the the List Home page when you are logged into Sympa.

This allows you to set a small number of options for that list

  • The name that appears on the list of members for each list, as seen by the list managers.
  • The "receiving mode". The two most useful options are "standard (direct reception)" where each message is delivered immediately as it arrives, and "Digest MIME format" where messages are gathered together and sent out, typically once a day. A number of other options are described on the adjacent help link.
  • Visibility: whether your subscription is visible to other members of the list
  • Suspend subscription: if you need to suppress email from a high volume mailing list for some time when you are away.

List privacy - viewing the subscribers' list

Members of a mailing list may be able to get a list of the subscribers for that list by sending a email with the subject line "REVIEW list-name" to The results will depending on the "Visibility" setting listed above, and the configuration of the list. Some mailing lists are set up so that the subscribers list is only available to the list administrators.

Message archives

A mailing list may be configured so that messages posted to it are automatically archived. When you join a mailing list you should check to see if there is an archive of previous postings. By reading previous messages you could avoid raising issues that have already been dealt with by the list. To check a list's archives visit the List Home page and click the Archive link. Note that by default lists are not archived.

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