AVECOL is an email bulletin board devoted to topics of interest to curators and collection managers of bird collections. Its primary purpose is to improve communication among those interested in research specimens of birds. AVECOL is open only to those who are curators or collections managers of zoological collections or those who collect research specimens of birds. AVECOL messages are not posted on any internet websites. As of June 2018, 251 people were subscribed to AVECOL.
Topics of AVECOL messages range from philosophical (e.g., discussions on collecting) to esoterically pragmatic (e.g., requests for information on where to get museum supplies or which brands of pens and ink are best for specimen labels).
AVECOL is not to be used to broadcast requests for loans or detailed information requests. However, a general query on which collections have which specimens is a good use of AVECOL (official requests to particular curators can then be follow-ups, off AVECOL).
To help control mailbox clutter ... when sending data or replies to a person in response to a query on AVECOL, please send directly to the person, NOT to AVECOL and its 250 members, unless you think the reply is of interest to more than just the person responsible for the original query. A good example of the latter would be where to get various supplies. However, when the response is likely of interest only to the person who originally posed the query, e.g., information on a particular species, then please do NOT send these responses to AVECOL but directly to the person who requested them.
• To subscribe:
send message to:
with only the following as text:
subscribe AVECOL-L Your Name
(for example: subscribe AVECOL-L Angelina Jolee)
[do not expect an instantaneous response -- it may be 24 hrs or longer, especially on weekends, before I process the request, although the usual wait is a few hours]
[if that message is bounced back to you, try hitting a "return" character after your name and see if that works; if that doesn't work, contact Remsen]
If I don't know who you are, I may ask for verification of your association with a research collection.
• To unsubscribe:
to remove your name from the list, send message to:
with only the following as text:
(if that doesn't work, try hitting a return character at the end of the text; just let know if you have any problems.)
The only rules are: (1) be polite, (2) do not distribute attachments to the list, because attachments are the primary vectors for viruses, (3) in replying to a message, to keep message bulk at a minimum please include only that part of the original message necessary for understanding the reply (not the entire message), and (4) avoid sending personal messages to the entire list. The latter is a frequent problem because the way AVECOL is set up is that a reply to a message on AVECOL goes to everyone on the AVECOL, not just the person who sent the message. (If you want to go to my website for the:
Hall of Fame of Most Embarrassing Personal Messages on AVECOL,
now accessible to roughly 1 billion people, click here: .) It is always a good idea to check the headers in your email program to see where your message is actually going. To minimize this problem, we recently made all AVECOL messages appear with the code "[AVECOL-L]" in the subject line -- therefore, a reply to any such message will be distributed to everyone on the list.
Please make sure your email program is set to send messages in Plain Text, not HTML (the "web" language often used in internet email programs, especially hotmail.com accounts) or "rich text" format -- if you need help with that, click .
receive bounced messages for 2-3 days in a row (usually due to ISP problems),
then I will likely delete your address from AVECOL. Don't take this personally
-- I just get tired of receiving many bounces per day. Just go ahead and resubscribe when the problem is fixed. Also, as list manager,
I get very tired of processing bounced messages from addresses with
""mailbox over quota." Most are from hotmail
accounts, which seem to have a very low quota for incoming messages. If your address bounces with "mailbox full" messages for more than a day, I will likely change your subscription to "digest" mode, i.e., you get only one composite AVECOL message per day.
would rather have this option regardless, see below for
instructions on how to change to "digest" options.
A regular problem is that your postings are rejected by the listserv (with a message that indicates that you are not "authorized" to post messages to AVECOL-L), yet you are still receiving AVECOL messages. This is usually because your email address has been modified by your institution or ISP, yet messages to the old address, i.e., the only one that AVECOL recognizes, are still automatically forwarded to the new one. To fix this, "subscribe" with the new one, and (assuming you can no longer send messages from the old one), ask me to delete the old one manually.
The most frequent mistake made by people when sending messages and commands is using "AVECOL" instead of the name recognized by the listserv software: "AVECOL-L."
For additional information or feedback, contact AVECOL "owner" Van Remsen <>. Be aware that I occasionally take vacations, go to meetings, etc., and so if days go by without me answering a query, don't take it personally.
Other useful commands:
[if message is bounced back to you, try hitting a "return" character after your text and see if that works; if that doesn't work, contact Remsen]
• To change addresses:
All you have to do is do the "signoff" routine above for the old one, and "subscribe" with the new one.
• To set to "no mail":
If you are worried about exhausting your mailbox capacity, which will cause me to delete you if the problem goes on for more than a couple of days, you can "inactivate" yourself (and then "reactivate" upon return), without having to signoff and then resubscribe, by sending the following command to the listserv:
SET AVECOL-L NOMAIL
(and then, to reactivate: SET AVECOL-L MAIL)
• Digest format
Another solution to the "out-of-town" situation (or to mailbox clutter in general), if you want to still see what has been happening, is to get only 1 message per day from the list, a "digest" with all the messages.
SET AVECOL-L DIGESTS
(and then, to change back: SET AVECOL-L NODIGESTS)
• To contact others on AVECOL
Rather than send a message to all members of AVECOL to see if someone knows someone else's email address, please first send the following command to :
This will send you an email message with all the names and email addresses of those currently subscribing to AVECOL. The list you receive is organized by alphabetically by ISP, unfortunately, so to find a name, you have to use your email program's Search function or copy the entire list into your word-processing program.
• Archives: AVECOL is archived at LSU, but to save disk space, the oldest year's messages are occasionally deleted. The archives may be accessed in a number of ways. First, you may retrieve the entire index. Simply send a message to the with the following message:
Make sure that the requests are sent to the listserver, not the list.
Second, you may actually search the archive. Let's assume that you would like to search for all reports on "specimen cabinets." Send the following message to the listserver:
SEARCH SPECIMEN CABINETS IN AVECOL-L
You will then receive a list
of all messages that contain a direct
reference to specimen cabinets. Once you have chosen a message
to retrieve, send another request to the listserver as follows:
GETPOST AVECOL-L ####
Most people will want to use the SEARCH feature when reviewing the archives.
Once you have received the index, you may retrieve any message as follows. Send a message to the listserver with the following message:
GET AVECOL-L LOG####