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Mailing Lists

It is often desirable to send the same email message to a number of people. There are various mechanisms available that allow you to do this efficiently and easily.

Before considering mailing to a large group of people, please review the campus guidelines for sending email with particular emphasis on the Maximum Size of Messages and Large Mailing Lists sections of this document.

The available mechanisms for creating mailing lists are:

  • Personal Mail Aliases
  • Reflector Lists
  • List Management Service - Listserves

Personal Mail Aliases

A personal mail alias is a simple name or word that is a substitute for a longer mail address or a group of mail addresses that you can create with your mail client. Only you can use your personal mail alias. This option is best used for a small group of people with whom you regularly communicate.

Reflector Lists

A reflector list (sometimes known as a system alias) is an email address known to your mail server (e.g., which is a substitute for a list of other email addresses. When you need to send mail to a group of people and others need to send mail to that same group, a reflector list may be the best vehicle. Not all mail servers allow you to create reflector lists, so check with your Local Service Provider.

List Management Service - Listserves

Listserves are lists that are managed by software usually external to your mail server that has some unique features. It allows the owner of the list to control who can subscribe to the list, who can mail to the list and how messages are archived. This option is best used for large groups of people, or groups who do not wish to receive unsolicited mail. PennNet Mailing Lists are an example of a List Management Service but other departments on campus are also running list management servers. Check with your Local Support Provider to see if your department is running a list management server.

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