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1 November 2006
Noga Chipman-Steinwartz
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The term Newsgroup describes a database of messages sent by users who are located in different geographical locations, yet share a certain field of interest. The Newsgroup can be compared to an email list, except for the fact that its messages are transmitted through an internet application (and not a mailing server), are exposed to the public and the individual does not need to appear in any mailing list in order to participate in the discussion.

A Newsreader is a type of software intended for organizing the messages received through the newsgroup. The software enables to sign up to a newsgroup and send messages to the group and receive messages from it. In this manner, the tool enables to create a 'newspaper' personally adapted for the individual and thus become a 'subscriber' and remain updated on news fields of interest.

For example, if there is a new newsgroup which interests the user, he must update the newsreader software and subscribe to this team. The newsreader software makes the team accessible to him/her and organizes the messages for him/her. Among other things, it stores information regarding messages which have already been read.

What is the difference between the Newsgroup messages and regular email messages?

The main difference is that the message is not addressed to a specific person, rather to the entire group. While regular mailing lists are sent to specific people, and the message appears only in their message-boxes, mail sent through a newsgroup is received in the news server and from there is sent to other serves across the world.

Using newsgroups and a newsreader has several advantages over the user of email lists:

While emails are received in any given time, the use of the described tools enables monitoring when one views the messages.

Furthermore, certain newsreaders enable presenting the messages in logical order: responses appear as follow-ups to their respective messages in gradual presentation.

It is important to note that messages do not exist in the newsgroup forever. The news server deletes messages after a certain time period which is defined by the server's activator. This means that if this is the first entrance to the sever or if using the server means to find the information to be found in the group, the messages received are only those currently existing and not those which have existed in the past. The advantage of this method is that the information is always updated and in reasonable amounts, the disadvantage is that there is no long-term knowledge documentation.

In practice, the newsreader can be regarded as a personal updated newspaper.

Personal- since anyone reads only the articles in this newspaper he/she is interested in, to which he/she subscribed;

Updated- Since the control device discards of messages, in any given moment one views only updated and correct news.

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