An archive of past messages to the DIALogue Discussion List is available within the password-controlled DIAL areahttp://www.austlii.edu.au/au/special/dialogue/discussion/threads.html], where the messages can be browsed in hypertext form, including with live hypertext links. The archive is created by use of the MHonArc software, an e-mail-to-HTML converterhttp://www.oac.uci.edu/indiv/ehood/mhonarc.html]. The rationale for this is that if a user has decided to communicate the original message to all DIALogue participants, then the message is an open message between all DIALogue participants, and it will be useful if current and subsequent participants can browse a copy of it at a later date.
Hints for use of the DIALogue Discussion List: are in the DIALogue User Manualhttp://www.austlii.edu.au/au/special/dialogue/dialogue_user.html].
LAW-DEV is therefore like a `public' version of the closed DIALogue Discussion List. Both serve a similar function of allowing subscribers to request information and advice from a large group of people interested in law and development. However, since anyone may subscribe to LAW-DEV, there is no inherent `quality control' in the information received via it, although it is often of high quality. Nor is there any expectation by LAW-DEV subscribers that requests for information are coming from senior government officials. Requests on LAW-DEV often come from students and general users of the internet. The DIALogue Discussion List is therefore likely to create different responses in the answering of enquiries.
Most DIALogue participants are probably not LAW-DEV subscribers, though some may be. Some will not want to subscribe, as they do not wish to add to the quantity of e-mail that they receive daily. Nevertheless, when the occasion arises, it may be very useful for a DIALogue participant to be able to submit a question (or information) to LAW-DEV, and to then follow the ensuing discussion on the LAW-DEV list.
The inclusion of the LAW-DEV components in DIALogue addresses these needs. First, by providing a convenient means of automating a mailing to the LAW-DEV list, each DIALogue participant does not need to remember the address to mail to LAW-DEV. More important, the LAW-DEV archive allows DIALogue users to follow the discussion that takes place on LAW-DEV without being a subscriber, and to do so at a time of their own choosing. The DIALogue home page suggests to users that they check the LAW-DEV and DIALogue Discussion List hypertext archives before submitting questions, in case the question has already been discussed on one of those lists.
LAW-DEV only receives a moderate amount of traffic, as is shown in the following headings of the first week in which LAW-DEV traffic was captured in the archive. However, the relevance of some of the messages to those interested in development of legislation is obvious, and there is no doubt that it is a valuable resource for the project's primary audience.