Replace Your Listserv


  • For organizations that have run listservs, the Commons can serve as a fully-featured listserv replacement. 
  • In addition to allowing users to continue to post and interact via email, the Commons offers the ability to collaboratively work on documents, share files, and collect the deposits members make to the repository.
Create a New Topic in "Jewish Music" group on the Commons. Send an email to and a new forum topic will be posted in Jewish music.
Commons group “Jewish Music” posting content that will be emailed to their group, similar to a listserv.

Stay connected with your colleagues.

An organization has run a listserv since 1999, serving around 350 people. The listserv has become clunky and the user who has run it at their institution is retiring, leaving it without a host. They want to move to a host that allows for more collaborative work on shared documents and supports the sharing of files. They also want to begin to gather and keep track of work done by listserv members shared in repositories. 

To start the process of moving a listserv to the Commons, the administrator should create a group with a discussion forum. More information on creating and managing groups can be found on our help and support site. Groups can be public, private, or hidden. For a listserv that is private, users have the choice between a private or hidden group. Private groups allow others to apply to join, whereas hidden groups are invitation-only. If you want to encourage growth a public group will allow anyone with interest to join automatically. 

Activity Section of the "Jewish Music" Humanities Commons Group. User Geraldine Auerbach started the topic "Putting COZ to bed."
The administrator of “Jewish Music” begins the conversation about ending their previous listserv.


  • Let subscribers know that you’ll be moving to the Commons, encouraging them to join the site and join the group. 
  • Consider creating a one-page document with information about the Commons, and the reasons for moving to a web-based discussion from email.
  • Some users may wish to continue to interact by email, and there are instructions for creating a discussion topic and replying by email on our help and support site. 
  • Set a cutover date and announce it widely. Shut down the email listserv on that date. 
Geraldine Auerbach posting "COZ this coming week" and "Putting COZ to bed" on the group discussion for "Jewish Music" on the Commons
The administrator of “Jewish Music” reminds group members of the end of their previous email listserv.


What could I expect as some resistance from my long-time email listserv members?It may be difficult for your long-time listserv members to adapt at first due to the perceived extra steps of logging into a website and taking multiple clicks to access your content. It’s important to remind them that this new format allows everything to be much more organized and collaborative than a listserv of the past.
Do my listserv members need to create a Commons account in order to receive and reply to posts?Yes! Members will need to create an account and be part of the group. If they’re still not receiving emails, make sure they’ve double checked their setting for group notifications.


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