Hermes is the name of the UIS system that provides mailboxes for all students and many staff. Currently over 30,000 people have mailboxes on Hermes. There is a limit (quota) to the total space you are allowed to use (2Gb for most users). For reasons of efficiency you should try to keep your account tidy by deleting messages that you have read and moving messages you wish to keep out of your 'inbox'. The maximum size of an individual message that can be sent from or delivered to Hermes is 50Mb.
You can read your Hermes mail using any standard mail program (Outlook, Thunderbird, Apple Mail, Eudora, etc.) or via a web browser using Hermes Webmail. See the links to left and right for details.
Your Cambridge email address and other addresses
Your Cambridge email address is of the form CRSid@cam.ac.uk, e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org. This is known as your @cam address. By default mail sent to this address will arrive in your Hermes mailbox. You can arrange to have your @cam mail delivered to another system if you prefer (see @cam addresses and the online email directory), but it is important that you read mail sent to your @cam address regularly as this is the address many people around the University will use for you.
If you choose to forward your mail to an address outside Cambridge you should make sure that you are using a service, whether an ISP mailbox or a webmail service such as Hotmail or Googlemail, that provides a reasonable size quota.
Warning: There may be issues of privacy and/or reliability with external email systems which you should consider. Support staff within the University and Colleges will not be able to help you with email problems if you forward your email outside Cambridge and the problems involve the external systems. University and College administrative and teaching staff are unlikely to be sympathetic to problems arising from such forwarding.
You should ensure that mail you send is clearly identified as coming from you, whether you are using your Hermes account or another account.
Finding out your Cambridge email address
In many cases you will be able to find out what your email address will be before you arrive. See the page on What is a CRSid? for details.
For students, please note that email can be sent to your Cambridge account once it is open, but you will not be able to read mail until you arrive in Cambridge and collect your password. Initial passwords are not sent out by post or email, or given over the telephone.
Please remember to follow good practice when using email; there is a useful page on mail etiquette and rules available.
Online email directories
There are two email directories in Cambridge:
- A world accessible directory of Cambridge email addresses contains the email addresses of everyone in the University who has consented to have their address included. You are asked whether you wish to be included in this directory when you register. Leaflet IS29: @cam addresses and the online email directory has information on how you can check, and change, your status in the directory.
- You can also configure your mail program to use an online Cambridge address book (part of the University Lookup Directory). This is accessible only on the Cambridge network (and automatically available to you on Hermes Webmail). See Using LDAP to Lookup to find email addresses for configuration information.
Spam and malware
For important advice on spam filtering and protecting yourself against malware delivered in an email see the pages on junk and other unwanted email.
In particular be very careful about opening attachments, or web links in messages, as these are a common way of spreading malware. Make sure that you keep your anti-virus and other anti-malware software up to date – however you should also note that such software may lag behind the malware. If you receive an attachment you were not expecting, even if it appears to come from a friend, do not open it until you have checked it with up-to-date virus/malware checking software. It is also a good idea to check with the sender that the message and attachment were sent intentionally. Before sending an attachment, check that it is acceptable to the intended recipient.
Occasionally the mail may be more threatening or of a personal nature. If this is the case, then guidelines on what to do about harassing email are available.
UIS runs a mailing list service for Colleges, Departments, University Societies and other Cambridge groups, but not for individuals. A national mailing list service, JISCmail, provides an electronic mailing list service for the UK academic community. Staff and postgraduate students in particular may find lists relevant to their research.
If you join a mailing list, please ensure that you suspend your subscription if you are not likely to log in to your email account for a while.