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Penn State University Libraries

Policies and Guidelines


Policy UL-IT04 EMAIL


  • Purpose
  • Library Email Accounts
  • . . . . Background
  • Getting Help
  • Personal Use of University Email
  • . . . . Use of OPPORTUNITY in the Email Subject
  • Multiple Instances of Email Clients
  • . . . . Multiple Users of the Same PC
  • . . . . Multiple Accounts Accessed from the Same Email Client
  • Checking Your Email from Outside of the Libraries Using an Email Client
  • . . . . Penn State POP Users
  • . . . . Penn State IMAP Users
  • . . . . From Handheld Devices
  • University Libraries LISTSERV Management and Structure
  • Libraries ULL Guidelines
  • . . . . Subscription Guidelines
  • . . . . Eligibility for ULL List Membership
  • . . . . Email Policies for Library Groups
  • Cross References
  • Additional References


To state the University Libraries’ position on email and University Libraries Listservs (ULL).


The University Libraries uses the centralized ITS email server for employee email. 


The Libraries discontinued issuing email accounts in March 2009.  All accounts have been forwarded to the user's account.  The email domain was discommissioned on September 19, 2011. 


All problems with email delivery or Penn State Webmail are the responsibility of Information Technology Services (ITS).  Users should submit these problems to the ITS helpdesk at

Problems with client configuration should be referred to Digital Library Technologies or I-Tech via the Libraries helpdesk. (staff only)


Libraries' employees must adhere to University policy FN14, which states that:

“The use of email, internet, and office phone services for reasonable personal use is permitted if the University incurs no additional incremental cost for personal use. 

  • These services may never be used in the conduct of a personal business or any other for-profit venture from which the employee (or member of their family) would receive personal gain.
  • Employees should not use these services for personal use if additional costs are incurred (i.e., long-distance phone calls).  If incremental charges are incurred, the University must be reimbursed for the cost. 
  • Excessive personal use which interferes with the employee’s job performance is not appropriate and can be limited as needed by supervisors to assure employee productivity.”

Use of OPPORTUNITY in the Email Subject

When sending an email message to Libraries' employees for personal matters (e.g., items for sale, free items, housing opportunities, travel opportunities or inquiries, leisure events and opportunities, etc.) use the word "OPPORTUNITY:" as the prefix in the subject line of the email message. 


            OPPORTUNITY: Football tickets wanted

            OPPORTUNITY: Free to a good home

It is against University and Libraries' policy to use the University email system, including "opportunity" messages, to advertise a personal business or any for-profit venture of Libraries' employees or their famiilies. 

Filtering Opportunity Messages: Use of this convention allows filtering of this type of message to a designated mailbox using the keyword "OPPORTUNITY:" as filter criteria. This keeps them separate from business-related email correspondence. 

Caution: No filter is perfect.  Don’t use the word opportunity for “non-opportunity” messages or your recipients may not see them in a timely manner.

Tip: Try using Interview for dissemination of work-related general information instead of or as well as email. 


Multiple Users of the Same PC:

Non-student employees using shared workstations are permitted to install and configure a Thunderbird client in their Windows profile on the shared machine IF they are using the Penn State IMAP email protocol. 

POP users are NOT permitted to use an email client on a shared machine.  These users must use PSU WebMail as an alternative. 

In situations where there are multiple employees assigned to the same machine the following conditions apply:

  1. only Penn State IMAP users are permitted to use an email client
  2. only DLT is permitted to administer the shared workstation

Multiple Accounts Accessed from the Same Email Client:

If you choose to check multiple email accounts you must configure the client with a profile for each account rather than requesting a second instance of the client on the same PC.


Penn State POP Users:

The best practice is one instance of an email client at work and subsequent instances of Penn State Webmail when accessing email from other locations.  If you do use an email client on a machine outside of the library, configure it to leave incoming mail on server.  Set your primary instance of your email client (at your desk) to download mail (e.g., do not check "Leave mail on Server").

Penn State IMAP Users:

IMAP is designed to work with email clients in multiple locations.  No specific guidelines apply.  If you must check mail and will not have a machine with an installed client (e.g., hotel, kiosk, etc.), make sure that you do not have an email client running elsewhere and then use Penn State WebMail. 

From Handheld Devices:

Both IMAP and POP users may configure handheld devices for sending and checking email.  Please note that I-Tech and DLT do not support personal equipment.  Help is available from the ITS Helpdesk and instructions via the ITS Knowledge Base


The purpose of University Libraries LISTSERV (ULL) lists is to provide standardized email groupings.  These eliminate the need for individuals to create their own address book entries in their mail client or to enter long strings of email addresses when sending email to known groups.

The structure of the ULL lists is based upon the organizational structure of the University Libraries, its committees and ad-hoc groups.

Every full-time employee must be a member of at least one list.

The list structure simplifies decision making when determining to which global lists a new employee should belong.

ULLs are arranged hierarchically -- employees should be members of the most specific ULL possible that matches their unit and job function.

Day-to-day management of ULLs throughout the Libraries is handled by list managers.  To change membership of a ULL, contact the Global List Manager for your area.  A current list of global list managers (staff only) is available.


Subscription Guidelines:

Employees are added to departmental ULLs at the lowest level of the hierarchy based on job function/role.  This does not apply to standalone lists (e.g., committees, etc.).  In these cases, membership is determined by the committee chair or appropriate administrator.

Eligibility for ULL List Membership:

Only PSU email accounts can be used in subscribing members to ULL lists.  Aliases are not permitted. 

Email Policies for Library Groups:

Ad hoc groups and groups that require membership outside of the community are not required to, but may distribute information using PSU Listserv lists rather than ULLs.  Individuals may create their own Listserv at


Other Policies in this manual should also be referenced, especially the following:

UL-IT01 – Computer, Network, and Email Account Authorization Process for Library Employees


AD56 - Use of Group Communication Tools to Communicate University Business to Employees and Students

FN14 - Use of University Tangible Assets, Equipment, Supplies and Services

Effective Date: June 8, 2006
Date Approved: February 6, 2006 (Dean's Library Council)

Revision History (and effective dates):

  • September 2011 – Revised policy; Streamlined and Reformatted
  • June 2011 – Revised to reflect transition from Global Mailing Lists (GMLs) to University Libraries LISTSERVs
  • June 2010 – Revised to reflect transition from Eudora to Thunderbird; incorporates POP and IMAP protocols and handheld devices
  • March 2009 – Revised to reflect the Libraries transition from psulias to
  • August 2007 – Editorial
  • February 6, 2006 – New policy

Last Review Date:  September 2011