Survey Briefing Points for Busy Officials:
Recipients and Distributors of White House Electronic Publications
- 30,000 to 40,000 people get documents directly on a near daily basis. 90,000 to
100,000 more receive documents or reports on their content from the primary
recipients through e-mail, face-to-face discussions, distributed hardcopy and
- A primary recipient may obtain documents in several means, with
reported means averaging 1.3 per person. 40% of primary recipients receive
documents through mailing lists; 40% retrieve from FTP and Gopher servers;
23% browse newsgroups on Usenet; 19% download from bulletin boards; 13% retrieve from forums on commercial networks.
- Recipients are younger, more educated and more male than the national
population. 85% are under 50, 75% completed college, 50% have
post-graduate degrees and only 20% are women.
- The primary affiliations of recipients, in descending order of frequency, are universities and colleges,
government and military, private-sector high-tech companies, advocacy groups
and economic interest groups. Few recipients are affiliated with elementary or
- Every U.S. state has some recipients, with the greatest concentration found
the Washington, DC area. 90% of recipients live in the U.S.; the remaining
10%are located in 25 foreign countries.
- Recipients are more politically active than the general population.
One third work regularly or occasionally for issues or candidates; one-third
write letters to elected officials, and the least active third vote.
Use and Attitudes
- People use the documents more to keep informed, follow an issue or get a
more direct view of political processes (65% of reported uses) than to acquire information for work or
- 80% look at available documents at least several times a week and select
documents to read by subject line; half spend 10 or more minutes per day reading
- Two-thirds of recipients brought information from the documents into political
discussions, with more people doing so to support than oppose the administration.
- Recipients find the publication service satisfactory and valuable. 65% report satisfaction
or extreme satisfaction, only 8% report dissatisfaction; electronic
publication is rated important by 29% and highly important by 50%.
Source: Survey of 1600 respondents in February, 1994.
Roger Hurwitz and John C. Mallery,
Intelligent Information Infrastructure Project
Artificial Intelligence Laboratory
Massachusetts Institute of Technology