Monday, October 23, 2006

Changes at AUTOCAT

This message was posted to AUTOCAT friday.

It is time for AUTOCAT to find a new home and new management.

During my recent visit to Buffalo I discussed the future of AUTOCAT with the Acting Vice-President for University Libraries and with an official in the computing center. The consensus was that we need to find a new site to host Autocat and new owner(s). If that is not possible AUTOCAT will go out of existence.

AUTOCAT: Library cataloging and discussion group began in October 1990 at the University of Vermont under the ownership of founder Nancy Keane. On April 28, 1993 it moved to the University at Buffalo and I became listowner. At that time it had 1880 subscribers in 24 countries; today it has 4600 subscribers in 42 countries.

AUTOCAT utilizes Eric Thomas' LISTSERV electronic discussion list software. Any host wishing to assume responsibility for AUTOCAT needs to have a Listserv application that will continue to support and maintain the list's database archival capabilities. The University at Buffalo currently runs Listserv version 14.5 but any version 1.8e or later (14.1, 14.2, 14.3, 14.4 or 14.5) should be OK.

Listserv is available on a wide range of computer operating systems. The hardware should be powerful enough to handle the volume of messages without getting bogged down. AUTOCAT averages around 25 posts per day with a distribution of 4600 subscribers, so we're looking at a daily traffic of about 115,000 messages.

It is also desirable that the list's archive file (dating from January 2, 1991 and currently containing over 120,000 messages) be exported to the new host and mounted as a searchable resource. AUTOCAT also has a listfile of files on various frequently-discussed topics that subscribers can retrieve; these should also be moved to the new host.

The requirements for the listowner(s) are that you should have some experience in running an electronic discussion list, have your supervisor's approval, and, of course, are interested in being a listowner. The amount of time required will vary from day to day but you should expect to spend about an hour a day on this job.

Those interested in becoming the new AUTOCAT listowners should send me an offer that contains your name, job title, e-mail address, and a brief description of your experience with running a list. Also needed is a description of your hosting environment (operating system, Listserv version, etc.) and the name, title, and e-mail address of the person responsible for managing lists at your site. All offers will be reviewed by me and by Jim Serwinowski of the UB Computing Center.

Please address your offers, questions, etc. to Copy all offers to

The deadline for receiving offers is October 27, 2006.

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