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This document describes how to give web visitors a tool for adding themselves to your open-access mailing lists. To view information about your lists or to manage your lists that are not open-subscription, please use our online list management tool).

To subscribe to an open list, a user needs to send an email to our list server with the “subscribe” command plus the list name and their email address as the body of the message.

For example, to subscribe to “listname”, an email must be composed and sent looking like this:

From: username@law.harvard.edu
To: majordomo@lists.law.harvard.edu
Subject: [the subject is ignored, and can be anything]
subscribe listname username@law.harvard.edu

If the “From:” field of the email message is the subscriber’s email address, then it doesn’t need to be reiterated after the listname in the subscribe command.

Anything that sends a properly formatted mail message will work. There are several ways to create a subscription link on your website; one example follows:

This method is the simplest, since it doesn’t even require a form. The example below appends a subject and a body to a mailto anchor tag. Following the link will open the user’s email client with a message including the corrrect recipient and properly-formatted subscribe message:

<a href=”mailto:majordomo@lists.law.harvard.edu?
Subject=subscribe&Body=subscribe%20example-list%0D%0Aend”>
Subscribe to example-list
</a>

Note the href value has no spaces in it — spaces in the Body need to be url-encoded as “%20” (without the quotes). The “%0D%0Aend” notes the end of the subscribe command (which prevents email signatures from being interpreted as further instructions).