Change or Die: Scholarly E-Mail Lists, Once Vibrant, Fight for Relevance

Listservs, a trademarked software for running e-mail lists whose
name is often used to refer to the lists themselves, were once a
“killer app” that tempted many professors to try the Internet in the
first place, back when many established scholars were skeptical of
computers. A Chronicle article nearly 15 years ago proclaimed
the exciting new world of academic e-mail lists, calling them “the
first truly worldwide seminar room.”

“This is the
academy of the 1990s, where ‘being connected’ has taken on a whole new
meaning,” the 1994 article went on. “Attending the right graduate
school and being published in prestigious places are still important,
but establishing a name for oneself online has become the newest way to
win recognition.”

But now collaborating online with
colleagues is so accepted that scholars are trying new tools that are
easier to use and, well, a little more exciting. When was the last time
someone enthusiastically recommended a new e-mail list to you? — Jeffrey R. Young, Chronicle of Higher Ed