The Software Agents Mailing List

Current Archive

The Software Agents Mailing List is devoted to the issues of software agents, personal digital assistants, software robots, knowbots, intelligent interface agents, etc. The term agent is ill-defined and because of this the scope of this mailing list will also be somewhat ill-defined. However, it should be restricted to software agents as opposed to hardware (robots) and human agents (your travel agent). (Although the interface from software agents to other agents is fair game.) The list was begun in 1994 by Ray Johnson, then at the Lockheed Palo Alto AI Center and now at Sun. In the Fall of 1996 it moved to UMBC.

AGENTS AND AGENTS-DIGEST. The list is available in two forms -- the regular AGENTS list and the AGENTS-DIGEST list. If you subscribe to the regular agents list, you will get each message posted to the list immediately. If you subscribe to the digest, you will get a periodic digest message which will contain all of the posted messages since the last digest was sent. Digests will be created and sent whenever a fixed period has expired (e.g., one week) or enough traffic has occurred (e.g., more that 1000 lines or 4000 bytes of content). If you like to read what is being posted but do not regularly participate in ongoing list discussions you may find the digest form more convenient. You can subscribe to both lists if you want.

SUBSCRIBING. To join the mailing list send a message to with subscribe agents or subscribe agents-digest in the body of the message. You will receive a message asking you to confirm that you would like to join the appropriate list -- this feature has been added to help prevent forged subscriptions. If you wish to subscribe an address other than your own, such as a local redistribution list, you can send majordomo a command of the form:

Such requests will not take immediate effect as they will have to be approved by the list administrator.

UNSUBSCRIBING. To have yourself removed from the mailing list send a message to with unsubscribe agents or unsubscribe agents-digest in the body of the message. If you are subscribed with an address other than the one from which you are emailing (e.g., you moved), you'll have to send a command of the following form instead:

and wait for the administrator to approve the request. If you don't know what address you are subscribed with, you can send the command "who agents" to see what addresses are subscribed to the agents list and identify your exact address.

POSTING. Messages sent to will be immediately distributed to all of the subscriber to agents, added to the hypermail archive, and added to the current digest for later distribution to the agents-digest subscribers. If you post a message and then realize you have said something incredibly stupid and want to keep it from being distributed, you are out of luck. You only hope is disavow the message and claim it to have been forged by an enemy.

FAQ. A FAQ (frequently asked questions) is available for this list at:

ARCHIVE. All posted messages are automatically indexed into hypermail archive located at .

HELP. This mailing list is managed by majordomo software. To obtain help about our server send a message to with the word help in the body of the message. If you have any difficulties, problems, or comments about the administration of this mailing list please mail them to