How to Search the WMST-L Logfiles


Performing Searches Via E-Mail

All messages that appear on WMST-L are automatically included in the list's logfiles. The logfiles are searchable, though only current WMST-L subscribers may perform searches. If you are a subscriber and 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 the last three years of logfiles either via WMST-L's web interface or via email to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UMD.EDU .

Many people will probably prefer to use the web interface. It is usually faster and easier than sending a search request via email. Sometimes, though, web sites can be difficult to reach. Also, some people may find it easier to save or forward the results of an email search. Thus, in addition to offering instructions for web interface searching, I'll continue to provide the following instructions for searching the logfiles via email. (Please note, though, that only the last three years of logfiles remain on the server. Thus, many of the messages mentioned in the examples below will no longer turn up on searches. The search methods, however, remain valid.)

You can search for messages on any topic. For example, to find postings that were sent to WMST-L about Charlotte Perkins Gilman's famous short story, "The Yellow Wallpaper," send the following message to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UMD.EDU:

search yellow wallpaper in wmst-l

or, if you know approximately when the messages appeared, try

search yellow wallpaper in wmst-l since 96/01/01 [Listserv uses the "international" date format: yy/mm/dd. Thus, Jan. 1, 1996 should be written as 96/01/01, while May 16, 2001 should appear as 01/05/16.]


search yellow wallpaper in wmst-l from 96/01/01 to 96/06/30 [this is a good search--it specifies a range of dates]

If you send this last message to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UMD.EDU, you will receive the following reply:

* * * * *
> search yellow wallpaper in wmst-l from 96/01/01 to 96/06/30 
-> 15 matches.
Item #   Date   Time  Recs   Subject
------   ----   ----  ----   -------
010657 96/01/23 20:37   31   Re: Women Writers
010706 96/01/27 18:30   20   anti-feminism and the academy
010710 96/01/28 01:30   58   The Yellow Wallpaper
010711 96/01/28 10:53   16   Re: The Yellow Wallpaper
010713 96/01/28 12:04   46   Re: The Yellow Wallpaper
010716 96/01/28 17:21   12   Re: The Yellow Wallpaper
010717 96/01/28 16:54   68   Re: The Yellow Wallpaper
010722 96/01/29 12:51   29   Re: The Yellow Wallpaper
010742 96/02/01 08:37   46   Charlotte Perkins Gilman (for sociologists?)
010816 96/02/05 18:50   38   gilman and dock....
011112 96/02/29 09:39   32   Seeking suggestions for film(s)
011600 96/04/07 23:23  179   Re: response to single article for core Humanities
012094 96/05/10 08:07   27   Women's Health Novels
012110 96/05/10 16:09   31   Re: Women's Health Novels -Reply
012358 96/05/30 08:39  158   women's health novels summary (long)
To order a copy of these postings, send the following command:
GETPOST WMST-L 10657 10706 10710-10711 10713 10716-10717 10722 10742 10816
11112 11600 12094 12110 12358
>>> Item #10657 (23 Jan 1996 20:37) - Re: Women Writers
        One I might mention is the "Yellow Wallpaper" site--
                                    ^^^^^^ ^^^^^^^^^  It
also contains a link to another YWP web site.
>>> Item #10706 (27 Jan 1996 18:30) - anti-feminism and the academy
recent "controversial" article by julia dock in the current PMLA regarding
the feminist scholarship surrounding "the yellow wallpaper."  the

* * * * *

In addition to the index of messages, Listserv also supplies excerpts from each message where the keywords appear. I've included only the first two in order to save space.

When you decide which messages you want, you simply send a second message to LISTSERV@LISTSERV.UMD.EDU saying

GETPOST WMST-L xxxxx yyyyy zzzzz

where xxxxx, yyyyy, and zzzzz are the item #s of the postings you want. For example,

GETPOST WMST-L 10657 10706 10713 10716

will tell Listserv to send you the first, second, fifth, and sixth postings in the above listing.

One caveat: if your search request extends over more than 80 spaces, you have to let Listserv know this. For example, if I wanted to find messages that I sent to WMST-L sometime in either 1995 or 1996 about "The Yellow Wallpaper," my message to Listserv would look like this:

// search "Yellow Wallpaper" in wmst-l from 95/01/01 to 96/12/31 ,
where sender contains korenman

Because the message is longer than 80 spaces, I started the message with two forward slashes followed by a space: //[space]. This tells Listserv to look for a space and a comma at the end of the line; the space and the comma tell Listserv that the next line should be considered as part of the command. Both the //[space] at the start of the first line and the space and comma at the end of the first line are necessary if what you're sending is more than 80 characters/spaces long. This is also true, I might add, of the GETPOST message I would send if I wanted all 15 Yellow Wallpaper messages that listserv told me about above:

// GETPOST WMST-L 10657 10706 10710-10711 10713 10716-10717 10722 ,
10742 10816 11112 11600 12094 12110 12358 

NOTE: if you're looking for a title that contains only common words that could easily appear in other contexts, you might try enclosing the title in quotation marks. For example, the book Feminist Frameworks contains words that someone might use when not referring to the book. If you search on the words feminist frameworks, you'll get lots of responses that include both words, but not necessarily together. You can cut down on irrelevant responses by searching instead on "Feminist Frameworks". Putting the words in quotation marks tells Listserv you want only messages containing this exact phrase, with the capitalization you've indicated. If you want to be sure you get all mentions of the title "Feminist Frameworks" regardless of capitalization (e.g., feminist frameworks, Feminist Frameworks, FEMINIST FRAMEWORKS, FEMinist FRAMEworks, etc.), use single quotation marks ('single' rather than "double"):

search 'feminist frameworks' in wmst-l from 95/01/01 to 95/12/31

If you'd like to read an additional discussion of the Listserv search process, I highly recommend Jared Weinberger's more extensive Search-and-Ye-Shall-Find Tutorial.

Copyright 1997-2001 by Joan Korenman; last modified November 6, 2001.

Please send all additions and corrections to: Joan Korenman

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