Email BibliographyKaitlin Duck Sherwood
Here are just a few resources that you can use to learn more about email. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and will always be under construction as new material appears.
Common QuestionsHere is more information on some common questions:
- Finding Email Addresses by Kaitlin Duck Sherwood
- Finding someone's email address by David Alex Lamb (longer, more comprehensive than mine)
- Attachments by Gregory Wasson for MacUser
- Is Electronic Mail More Like Speech or More Like Writing? by Kaitlin Duck Sherwood
I Use Outlook or Outlook Express with AOL? by
Kaitlin Duck Sherwood
- Heinz Tschabitscher runs
About.com's email site,
and does so very well.
His site has quite a lot of very good, well-organized information on it.
- Yahoo's Electronic Mail Category covers
everything and the kitchen sink.
Google's Email Help and Tutorials site is a bit more focused.
- There is an extensive guide to different programs for reading email at Inter-Links. This site also has information on how to find email addresses.
- All About Email has a somewhat small, but growing collection of email articles and links.
- Jacobe Palme
small review of email books.
- The Internet Business Forum has a
very professional set
of Email Tips
- Wingra has a nice
list of links. It
covers mostly techie-type things - protocols, standards - but there is
a pretty comprehensive list of industry magazines as well.
Adam Cogan of
Superior Software for Windows
wrote up some
to Better Email. I have some subtle disagreements with a few of the
details of his rules, but on the whole they are very good.
- There are a bunch of catch-all books that have a chapter or two
on style/etiquette issues, but which tend to talk a lot about
what email is, why it is wonderful, what features it has, and how
to push the right buttons and pull down the right menus, using one
or more of the emailers of the time to illustrate the concepts. These
- E-Mail for Dummies
by John R. Levine (and a bunch of others) covers a whole collection
of email software and services.
IDG, 1997; ISBN: 0764501313; 300 pages
- Using Email Effectively by Linda Lamb
using the Unix mailx email reader in the examples.
O'Reilly and Associates, 1995; ASIN: 1565921038
- Using E-Mail, by Dave Gibbons and four others, covering a
whole bunch of email programs.
Que, 1994; ISBN: 0-7897-0023-9
- The E-Mail Companion: Communicating Effectively via the Internet
and Other Global Networks by John Quarterman and Smoot Carl-Mitchell,
using the Unix pine email reader.
Addison-Wesley, 1994; ISBN: 0201406586
- There are also some interesting articles and books about the differences between oral and literate societies and the difference between post-printing press and "scribal" societies. I've got those in a separate bibliography.
- E-Mail for Dummies by John R. Levine (and a bunch of others) covers a whole collection of email software and services.
Style and/or NetiquetteI lump style and netiquette together here because many authors don't distinguish between the two.
- I Will Follow... covers
a lot of the same material that
my guide covers, but not in as much detail.
- Paul McFedries has an
primer that is quite nice.
- Albion.com has the
Netiquette Home Page,
which has excerpts from the book
Netiquette by Virginia Shea.
The book is very thorough on how to be a nicer person, and tends to
have a Usenet-oriented focus.
Albion Books, 1994; ISBN: 0963702513
- Tips on E-mail Netiquette
- Harvard Business School Publishing The Ten Commandments of E-Mail
- Electronic Mail Etiquette (David Harris)
- Avoiding the Dark Side of Email by Jim Britell is a thoughtful essay on the dangers of miscommunication in email and how to properly convey your message.
- Roadmap by Rev. Bob Crispen talks about how to avoid flame wars.
- E-Mail Etiquette, With Some Rules to Extinguish Flame-Throwing by Larry Magid has good, solid advice and a list of links to even more advice.
- I disagree vehemently with
some of the advice at
International. If you don't like
my guidelines, you might like his.
- The book
of E-mail Style by David Angell and Brent Heslop
is an excellent book with a slightly different purpose from my guide.
They talk about style a little bit, but most of the pages cover what I think
of as "language mechanics" - spelling, sentence structure, punctuation, and
Addison-Wesley Pub Co, 1994; ISBN: 0201627094; 157 pages
- E-Writing: 21st Century Tools for Effective Communication by Dianna
Booher is similar to
of E-mail Style, but bigger and thicker.
314 of its 370 pages are devoted to writing -- on paper or in email.
Pocket Books, 2001; ISBN: 0743412583; 368 pages
- There is a classic, tongue-in-cheek guide of what not to do at
Dear Emily Postnews.
Writing Effective E-Mail by Nancy Flynn and Tom Flynn is really
kind of a workbook. It looks like it is good for use with a live training
class. I don't agree with some of their statements about how important
grammar is nor that email is no different than letters. They do cover
all the basics briefly but pretty well.
Crisp Publications, 1998; ISBN: 1-56052-515-0; 82 pages
- If you read
A Beginner's Guide to Effective Email, you'll
be bored by
E-Mail Essentials by Robert S. Want, as about half of it
A Beginner's Guide to Effective Email.
(I put the Beginner's Guide into the public domain, so yes, he can do that.)
Better, Faster Email: Getting the Most Out of Email by Joan
Tunstall is a grab-bag of all kinds of email topics, including when to use
email vs. phone, security, and finding mailing lists, and
maintaining your address book.
Allen & Unwin; April 1999; ISBN 1864488999; 192 pages
Easy Email, also by Joan Tunstall, is basically a very small, abridged version of Better, Faster Email.
Allen & Unwin; 2000; ISBN 1865082945; 192 pages
- Collections of emoticons can be found at:
- Helwig's Smiley Dictionary.
- Electronic Frontier Foundation
- Datehookup Smiley dictionaries
- Japanese Emoticons
Smileys by Dougherty Sanderson and David W. Sanderson
O'Reilly & Associates, 1993; ISBN: 1565920414; 93 pages
The Smiley Dictionary by Seth Godin
Peachpit, 1993; ISBN: 1-56609-008-3; 73 pages
Wired Style: Principles of English Usage in the Digital Age
talks about issues that The Chicago Manual of Style doesn't cover yet:
things like how to cite a web page, how to spell email, etc. Somebody
had to write a spec for the language, and I guess they were as good
an outfit as any to write it. Be aware that they talk about
how to translate net concepts to paper, not how to translate paper concepts
to electronic media. Furthermore, most of the book is a huge
HardWired, 1997; ISBN: 1888869011; 158 pages
Why Didn't You Say That in the First Place? : How to Be Understood at
Work by Richard Heyman. I haven't read this one yet, but it looks
like a good book on paper document style issues.
Jossey-Bass Publishers, 1997; ISBN: 0787903442 ; 192 pages
Geeky Technical Details
- If you want information about the nitty-gritty nuts and bolts of exactly
how the bits in your email message end up on someone else's screen,
has a very good
overview of email standards.
- The specifications for almost all of the Internet are called RFCs.
I made a search page that uses Google to search
all of the site that has RFCs and RFC drafts.
- Want to know the difference between IMAP and POP? Look at Terry Gray's
Paradigms and Protocols.
- Delivering Electronic Mail by Phillip Robinson is mostly
geared to system administrators and other technojocks. (Out of print)
M&T Books, 1992; ISBN: 1558511709
Effective E-Mail : Clearly Explained : File Transfer, Security, and
Interoperability by Brad Shimmin (with CD-ROM) is kind of "geek lite".
It is somewhat
technical, with a particular emphasis on how to cope with different file
formats and attachments. There is also a nice section on security
and how to send email to/through proprietary (non-Internet) systems.
It uses Eudora for its examples.
Ap Professional, 1997; ISBN: 0126400601 ; 250 pages
- My wish list for The Perfect Email Program by Kaitlin Duck Sherwood
- Liszt is probably the biggest list of lists; go here if you are looking for a list.
- Where can I find a mailing list? by Heinz Tschabitscher for About.com
- Email Discussion Groups
and Lists from
Impulse Research gives common features
(and commands) of emailing list software and gives pointers to where you can
find a list on your favorite topic.
- James Milles of Case Western Reserve University has a nice summary of
List Manager Commands (for users, not administrators).
Miss Manner' Basic Training: Communication by Judith Martin covers
much more than email, but it has a very good chapter on when to use which
Crown, 1997, ISBN 0-517-70673-3; 180 pages
The 3 Rs of E-Mail : Risks, Rights and Responsibilities
by Diane B. Hartman and Karen Nantz. I have not read this book.
Crisp Publications, 1996; ISBN: 1560523786; 153 pages
- Email compared to other new communications technology:
Communications Technologies by
Kaitlin Duck Sherwood
E-Mail Security : How to Keep Your Electronic Messages Private
by Bruce Schneier is a very detailed, somewhat technical book. It talks
about all the different ways people can spy on you via email, then
goes into the nuts and bolts of encrypting mail.
John Wiley & Sons, 1995; ISBN: 047105318X; 384 pages
- Spamcon.org has a lot of resources to combat spamming and to deal with spam.
- Find out where spam comes from in Spam Sources by Kaitlin Duck Sherwood
Stopping Spam by Alan Schwartz and Simson Garfinkel is
a book mostly for system administrator-types on how to cut down on
unsolicited commercial email. There is some stuff for casual
computer users as well.
O'Reilly & Associates, 1998; ISBN: 1-56592-388-X; 204 pages
Removing the Spam : Email Processing and Filtering by Geoff
Mulligan is a guide for system administrators or Unix power users. It
tells how to use sendmail and procmail to get rid of spam.
(I have not read this book yet.)
Addison-Wesley Longman, 1999; ISBN: 0201379570; 190 pages
- E-Mail by Stephen A. Caswell.
Artech House, 1988; ISBN: 0890063036
Internet Messaging by David Strom, Marshall T. Rose.
Harcourt Brace, 1998; ISBN: 0139786104 ; 400 pages
PolicyI am occasionally asked for guidelines in creating usage policies. I don't make policies, but here is what I've run across:
- Jonathan Whelan's book
e-mail @ work
claims to be "for everybody", but I would say that it's optimized for
people who haven't used email much and who are trying to decide if/how to
bring email into their company. It has very good sections on setting policy
and legal issues.
It also covers email security and touches (very) briefly on managing email
and writing better messages. Note: this is very definitely a British
book. Some of the slang, companies, and acronyms won't make immediate sense
to US readers; the legal aspects are discussed purely from a
British legal perspective.
- Baker & McKenzie has a long, thorough, and lawyerly An Employer's Staff Email and Internet Policy.
- Legal Research Group has some information, including a sample policy for $100.
- Should Your Company have an Internet Use Policy? (InterActive Arts)
- Kalton's (a British legal firm) has a good essay on Email and Internet Policies.
- E-mail Answers has some discussion of email security and legal liabilities.
- Examples of and resources for developing U.S. educational
Acceptable Use Policies
- Florida Atlantic University
- Arizona State
- University of Maryland (various)
- various California policies
- Odile Heisel's collection
- Internet Learning Partners collection
E-Policy : How to Develop Computer, E-Policy, and
Internet Guidelines to Protect Your Company and Its Assets
by Michael R. Overly. (I have not read this book.)
AMACOM, 1998; ISBN: 0814479960 ; 144 pages
- Intel has a site with information about their email training program.
Scholarly WorkOccasionally people ask me for more scholarly/academic work. I don't follow the literature closely, so you may have better luck looking for "Computer-Mediated Communication" or "Human Computer Interaction" in your favorite search engine.
Here is what I know about:
- I have an extensive, annotated bibliography of email papers with full scholarly citation information.
Jacek Gwizdka has an
of email research. Go here first!
- Dr. Carsten Sørensen has a
bibliography of Information Overload resources.
- I bought two copies of the book
Connections : New Ways of Working in the Networked
Organization by Lee Sproull and Sara Kiesler because I found it so
They talk about how electronic communications alter the
way people work.
MIT Press, 1992; ISBN: 0262691582; 212 pages Reprint edition
- Eric Williams has written a scholarly paper on
E-Mail Effects in Organizations.
- Long and Short Routes to Success in Electronically-Mediated
Negotiations: Group Affiliations and Good Vibrations by Don Moore,
Terri Kurtzberg, Leigh Thompson, and Michael Morris is a very interesting
research paper that finds that email negotiations between strangers are
more profitable for both sides if the parties have some personal
communication before starting negotiations.
Research Paper #1484, Graduate School of Business, Stanford University.
- John December hosts an index of
- Ronald Rice
of Rutgers has a long list of scholarly papers that he's been involved with;
many of them have to do with computer-mediated communication.
Overload: Exploring Personal Information Management of Email
by Steve Whittaker
and Candace Sidner
excellent study of how people really use email. (Note: "overload" here is used
in the techy sense of "overloaded operators", not in the sense of
Bälter did extensive observations of real-world email use for
He makes recommendations for how to improve email use. Bälter also did
mathematical model of email use times based on keystroke-level analysis.
Two interesting points from his research: having over thirty folders is
a bad idea; so is periodically cleaning out old messages.
Habitat by Nicolas Ducheneaut and Victoria Bellotti
is a field study of how
people at three different companies actually use email.
Interactions of the ACM, September/October 2001
- Bälter and Sidner wrote a paper together on
a tool for organizing email messages by category.
- Heylighen and Dewaele's
paper on formality
seems to support my thoughts on context and
formality. Their view of formality is slightly
different from mine: their research suggests that language is more formal the
less shared context the speaker and audience have. (Note: I'm still rolling
their ideas around in my head; I may rewrite pieces of my email guide.)
- Horvitz, Jacobs, and Hovel
report on their Baysean network for prioritizing incoming messages.
- David Kirsch's A Few Thoughts on Cognitive Overload talks about the various forms of information overload and various coping strategies.
UnknownI don't know what these books are about yet.
- Simple Steps to E-Mail Success by Joy Van Skiver.
Wrexpress; 1998; ISBN: 0964382423
History of EmailWhile electronic mail within one computer system has been around longer, Ray Tomlinson gets the credit for sending the first electronic mail message from one computer to another.
- Mail: the application that hadn't been thought of by Peter H. Salus
- Ray Tomlinson and the Birth of E-mail
- History of the Internet
Go back to A Beginner's Guide to Effective Email
Updated 17 November 2001
Removed email management software list, since I wasn't managing to keep it current. 26 June 2007
Please see the copyright notice.