How to get to newsgroups: Your e-mail machine will probably have a menu that offers you a choice like "tin" or "newtin" or "rn". Take that choice. The first time you do so may take a minute or so to get started, and on the machine you will be presented with a default list of introductory newsgroups -- you may begin deleting at once if you like! To see the whole range of possibilities, type (usually) "y", then scroll until your eyes glaze over. You may search this endless menu (check the screen for command: often initiated with the slash key) for words of interest. You will "subscribe" to groups you find appealing. When you then exit the newsreader program, it will save your choices, and the next time you come back it will take only a couple of seconds to load them up and show you what is available in them. My newsreader screen today looks like this:

           Group Selection (  14)           h=help

 1   121  upenn.classics.cs28           No description available.
 2    79  sci.classics                  Studying classical history, langu
 3   264    News of Germany (Moderated)
 4   193                    Forum for discussion of Penn issu
 5   245  de.soc.politik
 6    65  de.etc.sprache.deutsch        Die deutsche Sprache: Fragen, Ant
 7    71  de.soc.recht
 8    61  de.soc.weltanschauung         Religion(en), Atheismus und sonst
 9   406  soc.culture.german            Discussions about German culture
10    12  alt.usage.german              Questions and answers about the G
11     1  clari.feature.imprb_research  Excerpts from the Annals of Impro
12    11             Regular news summaries. (Moderate
13    13   Colleges and universities (Modera

 =set current to n, TAB=next unread, /=search pattern, c)atchup,
g)oto, j=line down, k=line up, h)elp, m)ove, q)uit, r=toggle all/unread,
 s)ubscribe, S)ub pattern, u)nsubscribe, U)nsub pattern, y)ank in/out

                       *** End of Groups ***
The column of numbers tells me how many messages are available in each group. All groups have "expiration dates" beyond which messages are trashed, so the collections are constantly refreshed, but if I read messages in one group and am happy to dismiss them, I may type "c" and the number will be reduced to zero so that the next time I come here, any messages showing will certainly be new.

Note that my first group is one created for my undergraduate course Classical Studies 28, and it is the archive for all the messages in that course's discussion group, including the students papers, submitted to the whole class for reading and discussion.

Usenet can be a useful tool if you think of it like a newsstand. If a listserv list is like having a subscription to a magazine, Usenet is like going to the store and browsing the magazine rack. Your mailbox doesn't get cluttered, but the material you are interested in is there when you choose to inspect it.