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Searching SERIALST's logs: pt.1 Birdie MacLennan 21 Dec 1992 02:48 UTC

>From time to time, the question of how to search SERIALST, or
other LISTSERV archives comes up.  The following documents
(posted in 2 parts) are excerpted from a workshop handout from
the 1992 NASIG annual conference in Chicago.  I generally refer
people to Eric Thomas's INFO DATABASE memo, for the complete
overview, or Charles Bailey's PACS-L Search tutorial, for a
concise overview of "batch mode" methods for LISTSERV searching.
However, the following general information might also be of
interest, particularly if you have BITNET access and want to know
more about interactive searching.

Part 1 is an overview of general guidelines for LISTSERV
searching; part 2 gives a specific example for searching the
SERIALST database archives interactively.  If you're not interested
in a specific example of interactive searching, press your delete
key at part 2.


There are currently two ways to search and retrieve messages from
LISTSERV database archives:  (1) Interactive searching, or (2)
Batch mode searching.  The following documentation gives an
overview of *interactive* search functions as they relate to the
SERIALST@UVMVM.BITNET listserver.  For a tutorial on *batch mode*
searching, see Charles Bailey's tutorial, "How to Search the
PACS-L Message Database," available from: LISTSERV@UHUPVM1.BITNET
with the command:  GET SEARCH DOC F=MAIL.

The essential difference between the two methods is that, with
interactive searching, you are sending commands (one of them at a
time) directly to the computer and waiting for a search response
to come back to you in real time before sending off the next
command, whereas with batch mode searching, you are sending e-
mail messages to the computer (and having the option of batching
your commands together).  With interactive searching, you have to
sit in front of your terminal and wait the process out, whereas,
with batch mode, you can batch your search and print commands in
one e-mail message, send it to the listserver, log out of your
account, and come back the next day to find your search results
waiting.  The other difference between the two forms of searching
is that BITNET users with IBM or VAX accounts have a choice about
whether or not they want to search interactively or in batch
mode.  Users operating from Unix, or other types of systems MUST
search in batch mode.

Also note that, although the interactive search example that
follows previews the SERIALST database, and Charles Bailey's
batch mode examples in the SEARCH DOC tutorial preview the PACS-L
database, the search methods outlined may be used as a guide
for searching ANY BITNET/LISTSERV discussion forum that maintains

It should also be noted that NOT all listserv sites maintain
searchable database archives, though each listserv site can send
you a list of all the database archives it maintains (*if* it
maintains archives).  To retrieve the list send a one line message to:
LISTSERV@<desired.node> (e.g., listserv@uvmvm.bitnet) that reads:

For more information about searching LISTSERV archives
interactively and/or in "batch" mode, see Eric Thomas' LISTDB Memo
(available from: listserv@uvmvm, via one line message: INFO

Birdie MacLennan
SERIALST Moderator                 bmaclenn@uvmvm.bitnet
University of Vermont