H-Net: Preserving and Improving Access to Specialized Electronic Mailing List Archives
H-Net Digital Preservation Policies and Procedures
Digital Asset Policies for the H-Net E-Mail Lists
MATRIX and H-Net adhere to the following policies regarding digital asset creation, selection and acquisition, deposit guidelines, and access and use.
In most cases, only subscribers to an H-Net list may submit to that list. The subscription process for most lists involves providing a name and e-mail address and then going through a simple verification process. A few lists require editorial approval of subscribers. Section 2.03 (e) of the H-Net By-Laws contains additional information about subscribing to the H-Net lists. Messages submitted to the public H-Net lists must be in plaintext formats, such as ASCII and UTF-8. No attachments are allowed on the public lists. The list editor will ensure that the message is in plaintext and strip out any attachments before posting a message. Attachments are allowed on the private, administrative lists.
Selection and Acquisition Policies
All messages submitted to the H-Net lists are eligible for inclusion in the H-Net archive. Each message is reviewed by an editor for that list on submission. If the editor deems the message appropriate to the list, they post it with or without editorial changes. Once approved and posted, a message becomes part of the permanent archive. On rare occasions, messages may be removed from lists after posting. Section 2.03 of the H-Net By-Laws contains additional information on posting to the H-Net lists. Section 2.02 contains information on handling editorial decision disputes, including if a message author takes issue with the editing of or refusal to post a message.
Users subscribe to lists and submit messages, and editors post messages, as described in the previous sections and in Section 2.03 of the H-Net By-Laws. Most of the metadata required for submission is provided by the submitter's system or the LISTSERV software. The subject line must be provided by the author and/or list editor, and forwarding information must be included if applicable. Automatically supplied metadata includes:
- Name and e-mail address of original author
- Name and e-mail address of list editor
- Date the message was received or posted to the list
- Name of list
Access and Use Policies
The designated community for the private H-Net lists, as described by OAIS, includes list subscribers, researchers, and other users interested in the H-Net academic subject areas. In most cases, a user need not be subscribed to a list to access messages. Messages may be accessed through the H-Net web-based browser interface or via LISTSERV commands sent using an e-mail program. With the browser interface, users click through to the desired list and on to the message(s) of interest. The chosen message displays in the browser window. Users may also access messages through a search function available in the browser interface. If LISTSERV commands are used, the message is delivered in the user's e-mail program. Use policies for the public lists are further described in the The H-Net Constitution (Article VIII) and By-Laws (Section 2.04).
Copyright to messages submitted to the H-Net lists remains with the original author. By submitting a message to a list, the author gives H-Net the right to electronically distribute that message to users through the list. Users may cite information in H-Net messages for non-profit educational purposes, with attribution to the author, the list, and the original posting date. "H-Net Policy on Copyright and Intellectual Property" and Section 2.04 of the H-Net By-Laws contain additional information on H-Net's copyright and intellectual property policies.
For the private H-Net lists, the designated community includes only editors and other administrators who have subscription and access permissions. Access to messages is provided in the manner described above for the public lists. On the occasion that an attachment is present in a message, the user may download it. Attachments are rare, occurring in less than 0.01 percent of all H-Net messages. Most of the attachments are in Microsoft Office, PDF, JPEG, and other common formats. These should open in viewers, later versions of the application, or even other applications. In the event that a user has difficulty opening an attachment, MATRIX will provide assistance.
Last Revised July 2009