Listserv Searches

It is possible to search the list archives and retrieve posts for a specific time period, a specific author, or a specific subject.

Searching by Date

If fewer than 100 messages are expected, one command will work (date is in YY/MM/DD format): Send an email message to the Listserv address (with anything you like as the “Subject:”) and this for the first message:

    search atca * from 03/05/23 to 03/05/23

If over 100 messages are expected than you will have to send more than one command. For example, if close to 300 messages appeared in 2 days, the following commands could be used:

    search atca * from 03/05/23 00:00 to 03/05/23 15:59

…this for the second message:

    search atca * from 03/05/23 16:00 to 03/05/24 7:59

…and this as the third:

    search atca * from 03/05/24 8:00 to 03/05/25 00:00

Each of these will generate an email message back to you, containing a list of messages that looks something like this:

    Item #     Date      Time     Recs  Subject
    ------     ----      ----     ----  -------
    007474     03/05/23  04:09    19    Re: Polishing phones
    007477     03/05/23  00:44    18    the spring show
    007478     03/05/23  00:55    29    Re: wiring a 302

…and so on. When you’ve found which messages you would like to see, send another message to the Listserv address (with anything you like as the “Subject:”) and something like this as the message:

    GETPOST ATCA 7474 7477-7478

…this command will get message numbers 7474, 7477-7478.

Note that the time and date the listserv uses is not necessarily when the post was received. The time/date stamp is taken from the sending computer. People are sending from different time zones, and some computers are not set to the correct date or time. If the search comes back with message numbers that are much lower (older/earlier) than the bulk of the message numbers, these are probably old messages with incorrect date information. If there are gaps between numbers, then the time/date stamp of those messages is probably in the future — even though the listserv received it between the other messages. The safest way to retrieve all messages is to get all posts between the first and last consistent batch of numbers.

In the example above, it is a safe bet that 007475 and 007476 came in during that time period, but have a later time/date stamp. The command would be:

    GETPOST ATCA 7474-7478

Searching by Author and/or Subject

Say you want to find all the posts that discuss Strowger dials. You might send the command:

    SEARCH ATCA "Strowger dials"

Listserv will return a list of all postings that match your search command. This may return more than 100 posts, so it might be wise to narrow the search by time, sender, or subject of the postings. Here are four sample search commands.

    SEARCH ATCA "Strowger dials" SINCE 03/7/24
    SEARCH ATCA "Strowger dials" WHERE SENDER CONTAINS "Steph"
    SEARCH ATCA "Strowger dials" WHERE SUBJECT CONTAINS "wiring"

In the first example Listserv lists all postings that have the word Strowger dials anywhere in their body and were posted to the ATCA list since July 24, 2003.

In the second example Listserv lists all postings containing the word Strowger dials in their body that were ever posted to the ATCA list and had Steph anywhere in the “From:” mail header line.

In the third example Listserv lists all postings containing the word Strowger dials in their body and had wiring anywhere in the subject line.

In the fourth example the asterisk (*) means to list all postings which contain the word wiring anywhere in their subject header.

This will return the same type of info as the day search example, and posts can be retrieved the same way.