LIST was a MS-DOS utility created by Vernon D. Buerg. This handy utility allows a user to browse a directory listing and view any file (ASCII or binary).

In normal English usage, two or more things, itemised.

In Computer Science, however, a list may have one item, none, or any other number of members. A list in computer science may contain a mixture of single items: atoms, and other lists. You can represent pretty much anything as a list. For example, a sum like (3*4)+(5/6) may be represented as the list (+ ( * 3 4 ) ( / 5 6 ) ) -- that is a list containing three elements, "+", and the lists ( * 3 4 ) and ( / 5 6 ).

List is a type of electoral system which tries its best to be proportional. Sometimes referred to as the National List (see below) or Party List. It attempts to mirror the amount of representation a party gains in seats with the number of votes that the party received. It possibly the best at accomplishing this.

There are two types of List system:

  • Open List
  • Closed List
The List system can either use one large mutli-member constituency or have many multi-member constituencies. The single large constituencies often cause the system to be called the National List system. This form of the List system is used in Israel and the Netherlands (it doesn't differ from Open List or Closed List in any other way except for the constituency size).

This system often leads to coalition government since it is very easy for a party to not have sufficient support to form a government and so parties need to band together with other parties in order to have sufficient support to form a government (if they cannot pass laws through their legislature then they have insufficient support). This can result in coalition governments which have a large range of parties since many small parties will be needed to form a government. In the case of the EU, there is no government to form, hence the reason that it is used in Britain (and other places in Europe) for elections into the European Parliament. It ensures good representation of parties and it doesn't matter whether there will be a coalition government (because there isn't one to form).

How it Works

The basic idea is that the parties draw up a list of candidates for each of the constituencies. People then vote for a party and the parties get the same proportion of seats as votes. Sometimes there is a specific quota which states the number of votes needed to gain a seat. The seats are then filled by the candidates on the party's list usually starting from the top and then working down (Open list works slightly differently). This of course is a very simplistic example and doesn't take into account the two other types of list system. Also, like most electoral systems, different places adapt the electoral system to their political system.

How it Works: Closed List

In this version of the List system, the list of candidates is closed (as in the voter does not see it). The party draws up a list of candidates for a constituency but the voter only votes on the ballot paper by chosing a party. The party then gets awarded a number of seats in proportion to the number of votes that they recieved and assign candidates from the list they drew up to those seats (they usually have their list in preference order from the top down).

How it Works: Open List

In this version of the List system, the candidate list is open to the public and so the voter chooses on their ballot paper not only their party but also a choice of candidates. They mark down which candidates in that party list they would rather like to get the seats. When the votes are counted up the party receives seats in proportion to the number of votes that they secured. What happens now is what makes the Open List system different. The party, when assigning candidates to seats, assign the candidates to seats that won the highest number of votes. So if the party managed to get four seats in a constituency then they have to assign to those seats the four highest vot] winners in that constituency.


  • Simple to understand
  • Good translation of votes to seats. This means that the radicals/extremists still get represented even if they have little power in the parliament/assembly.
  • Has fairly minimal amount of wasted votes
  • Reduces apathy due to few wasted votes as well as fair representation. This tends to lead to better turnout.
  • Encourages participation between parties in the parliament/assembly since they have to work together if they wish to form a coalition government.
  • Leads to more diverse lists of candidates since parties can put down greater types of candidates rather than trying to only have one candidate that will appeal to the most people. So there can be upper class, lower class, black, asian, female, male, old, young etc. and the people can choose who they wish to represent them. There is no need to force a candidate onto the voters who is merely there to appeal to the widest range of people (which has a tendency of distancing the voters from their representatives and politics in general).


  • Coalition government is usually created and, due to the large range of parties, it is possible for a small, extremist party to hold the rest of the government to ransom (since without the extremist support the government would not have enough of a majority to pass legislation).
  • Weak (if any at all) constituency link due to the multi-member constituencies
  • With the Closed List system there is a lot of power given to party headquarters (rarely democratic) when it comes to choosing candidates.
  • Coalitions that are formed may be filled with many parties that have a very broad range of views making it difficult to come to agreements (leading to legislative gridlock). This usually occurs when a coalition has parties that have broad ranges of ideaologies and so disagree strongly over things. Coalitions rely on compromise between the parties and when this does not happen then bloody political wars can develop quickly.
  • Coalition governments are also said to be too indecisive when a quick decision is needed. When in a war, for example, people rarely wish their government to spend a week or so debating the current strategic topic since it is usually too late by then (unfortunatly).

In LISP, a list is a bunch of nested conses, like so:

(hello . (world . -Peter))

This list contains the atoms 'hello, 'world, and '-Peter.
Lists are commonly shown in an abbreviated form:

(hello world -Peter)

They are the third most fundamental data structure in LISP.

List (list), n. [F. lice, LL. liciae, pl., from L. licium thread, girdle.]

A line inclosing or forming the extremity of a piece of ground, or field of combat; hence, in the plural (lists), the ground or field inclosed for a race or combat. Chaucer.

In measured lists to toss the weighty lance.

To enter the lists, to accept a challenge, or engage in contest.


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List, v. t.

To inclose for combat; as, to list a field.


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List, v. i. [See Listen.]

To hearken; to attend; to listen. [Obs. except in poetry.]

Stand close, and list to him.


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List, v. t.

To listen or hearken to.

Then weigh what loss your honor may sustain,
If with too credent ear you list his songs.


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List, v. i. [OE. listen, lusten, AS. lystan, from lust pleasure. See Lust.]


To desire or choose; to please.

The wind bloweth where it listeth.
John iii. 8.

Them that add to the Word of God what them listeth.

Let other men think of your devices as they list.

2. (Naut.)

To lean; to incline; as, the ship lists to port.


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List, n.


Inclination; desire. [Obs.] Chaucer.

2. (Naut.)

An inclination to one side; as, the ship has a list to starboard.


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List, n. [AS. lIst a list of cloth; akin to D. lijst, G. leiste, OHG. lIsta, Icel. lista, listi, Sw. list, Dan. liste. In sense 5 from F. liste, of German origin, and thus ultimately the same word.]


A strip forming the woven border or selvedge of cloth, particularly of broadcloth, and serving to strengthen it; hence, a strip of cloth; a fillet. "Gartered with a red and blue list. " Shak.


A limit or boundary; a border.

The very list, the very utmost bound,
Of all our fortunes.


The lobe of the ear; the ear itself. [Obs.] Chaucer.


A stripe. [Obs.] Sir T. Browne.


A roll or catalogue, that is, a row or line; a record of names; as, a list of names, books, articles; a list of ratable estate.

He was the ablest emperor of all the list.

6. (Arch.)

A little square molding; a fillet; -- called also listel.

7. (Carp.)

A narrow strip of wood, esp. sapwood, cut from the edge of a plank or board.

8. (Rope Making)

A piece of woolen cloth with which the yarns are grasped by a workman.

9. (Tin-plate Manuf.)


The first thin coat of tin.


A wirelike rim of tin left on an edge of the plate after it is coated.

Civil list (Great Britain & U.S.), the civil officers of government, as judges, ambassadors, secretaries, etc. Hence, the revenues or appropriations of public money for the support of the civil officers. More recently, the civil list, in England, embraces only the expenses of the reigning monarch's household. --
Free list.
(a) A list of articles admitted to a country free of duty.
(b) A list of persons admitted to any entertainment, as a theater or opera, without payment, or to whom a periodical, or the like, is furnished without cost.

Syn. -- Roll; catalogue; register; inventory; schedule. -- List, Roll, Catalogue, Register, Inventory, Schedule. A list is properly a simple series of names, etc., in a brief form, such as might naturally be entered in a narrow strip of paper. A roll was originally a list containing the names of persons belonging to a public body (as Parliament, etc.), which was rolled up and laid aside among its archives. A catalogue is a list of persons or things arranged in order, and usually containing some description of the same, more or less extended. A register is designed for record or preservation. An inventory is a list of articles, found on hand in a store of goods, or in the estate of a deceased person, or under similar circumstances. A schedule is a formal list or inventory prepared for legal or business purposes.


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List (list), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Listed; p. pr. & vb. n. Listing.] [From list a roll.]


To sew together, as strips of cloth, so as to make a show of colors, or form a border. Sir H. Wotton.


To cover with list, or with strips of cloth; to put list on; as, to list a door; to stripe as if with list.

The tree that stood white-listed through the gloom.


To enroll; to place or register in a list.

Listed among the upper serving men.


To engage, as a soldier; to enlist.

I will list you for my soldier.
Sir W. Scott.

5. (Carp.)

To cut away a narrow strip, as of sapwood, from the edge of; as, to list a board.

To list a stock (Stock Exchange), to put it in the list of stocks called at the meeting of the board.


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List, v. i.

To engage in public service by enrolling one's name; to enlist.


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List (?), v. t.


To plow and plant with a lister.


In cotton culture, to prepare, as land, for the crop by making alternating beds and alleys with the hoe. [Southern U. S.]


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