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ADMIN: Searching the SEAOC Archives - a listservice problem in need of a solution

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I have gone back to the SEAOC web site to search out old posts from our
listservice in the archived listings. Unfortunately, it does not appear that
we have a decent search utility to find specific posts. This raises some
issues that we, as a group, need to discuss.

It is the intention of the CAC in the very near future to create separate
listservices for each of the committees, each chapters board of directors
and one for the state board members. Over time the usability of lists will
grow as more organizations and SEA chapters, hopefully, use the SEAOC server
as the center of the distribution of information. This poses some very real
problems that we, as the explorers of this new communication media, are best
to resolve.

1. Without the use of coding or abbreviations, how do we make the
information that we store accessible for retrieval. At this time, we can
only sort the archived list, but can not search either subject line or
content for key words. We have almost three years of archives on the web
which takes considerable time to look through when you need information and
the subjects are not clear.

2. How will we ensure that the valid information is transmitted bothways
through channels. In other words, committees will draw upon our "general"
list for opinions on the work that they may be doing. An alternative would
be to provide volunteers to summarize subjects and physically forward them
to appropriate committees. Considering the information starts on the list,
moves to a local chapter committee, is then refined and moved to a state
committee - it should be sent back to the members for review and comment and
then placed back into the cycle until it reaches state or national board
members.
Conversely, the boards of each chapter, state and national associations need
to inform the list membership of what is occuring at that level.
I think you can begin to see how complicated the transference of valid
information becomes. One thing to remember is that, although SEAOC or each
chapter, would hope to gain membership dues, the information moved back and
forth includes opinions of non-members or members of other professional
organizations. I wanted to clarify this since it is important that the use
of the word "member" is associated to list subscriber and not exclusivly to
paid membership in a chapter.

I think the first step is to make our subject headers easier to understand
and sort. I have started (as Bill Allen noted) to use abbrievations in my
subject lines. We discussed this some months ago and many of you do use
abbrievations to help simplify our topics. However, for the most part, many
of you responded that the work involved to accomodate a growing list and the
need to lookup the abbreviation prior to posting was too much work and would
discourage you from particpating.

I also believe that this is a very real problem that we need to start
addressing as a self-proclaimed Listservice committee for SEAOC. This would
be one way to create a model of the electronic committee and to see how
sucessful we are in reaching a standard to help control the flow of
information and the means we already need to retrieve information.

Please, jump in on this discussion.
Sincerely,
Dennis S. Wish PE