All messages that appear on WMST-L are automatically included in the list's logfiles. If you want to locate one or more past messages, or you want to see what has been said on the list about a specific topic, you can search logfiles from 1998 to the present either by e-mail or through WMST-L's web interface. Many people will probably prefer the web interface: it is simple and very fast.
You must be a current WMST-L subscriber to search the logfiles. If you are a subscriber, go to WMST-L's web interface at http://www.listserv.umd.edu/archives/wmst-l.html . You'll see a screen that looks something like this: [NOTE: the listserv software was upgraded in July 2005, and the pages now look a little different but contain the same content.] [NOTE: If you haven't set a password for WMST-L's web interface, you'll have to do so before you can use the interface. See instructions right below the "Archives of WMST-L" screen shot.]
Click on the line that says "Search the archives." If you haven't set a password for WMST-L's web interface, you'll be taken to a page that asks you to provide the address from which you subscribed to WMST-L and to select a password. The Listserv software will then send a request for confirmation to the address you've supplied. Once you've replied with OK and have received word that your password is accepted, you can return to the web interface, enter your email address and password, and then search the logfiles or perform any other function the interface makes possible.
Once you have your password and have clicked on Search the Archives, you'll come to a screen that looks like this:
Let's say that I remember a discussion about activist autobiographies that I'd like to see again. I think it took place in October, 2001, but I'm not sure--it might have been November. I'm also not sure whether people always used the term "autobiographies"; perhaps sometimes they used "autobiography." With the web interface, these uncertainties pose no problem:
In the "Search for" box, I've put "activist autobiograph" (without the quotation marks), and beneath that I've checked "Substring Search." Checking "Substring Search" tells the search software to look for any word that begins "autobiograph." It would thus find "autobiographies," "autobiography," and "autobiographical."
I can't remember what the subject headers of the messages I'm looking for are likely to contain, nor who sent the messages, so I leave those boxes blank. I am pretty sure, though, that the messages were sent no earlier than October 2001, so I ask that the logfile search include all messages sent "Since" the beginning of that month. If I were sure about the end date, I would also fill in the "Until" box: the narrower the span of dates, the faster the search. I then click on the "Start the Search" button, and very quickly I get the following page of results:
My search has produced 8 hits. Note that I can click on any Item # and see the entire message. Also, after listing the hits, the results page provides a brief bit of context, showing me the appearance of each of the words I've searched for, message by message. The context area gives me another chance to click on the Item # and see the entire message.
Though the above search has been restricted to a narrow time period, you can also ask to see all the messages in the logfiles on a given topic, or sent by a specific subscriber. For example, if you want to see what if anything has been said on WMST-L about feminist theorist Luce Irigaray, you could enter "Irigaray" into the "Search for" box and hit "Start the Search." Please be aware that only the most recent three or so years of logfiles are available to be searched in this way. Older logfiles can be found on the Women's Studies Database at MITH, where the search capabilities are more limited. You might also take a look at the goldmine of information (including files of selected past messages) available in the WMST-L File Collection. The File Collection contains more than 250 files, arranged both alphabetically and in eighteen subject sections.
If you'd like to know more about using the web interface to search WMST-L's logfiles, try the "Help" link on the blue left-side section of the Search page. Information about other very useful things you can do on WMST-L's web interface can be found here.
Copyright 2001-2013 by Joan Korenman; last modified January 27, 2013
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