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Intelligent Information Infrastructure Project:
Working Paper

Of Public Cyberspace: A Survey of Users and Distributors
of Electronic White House Documents

Roger Hurwitz and John Mallery

Fri Apr 1 1994 (Draft)


Since January 20, 1993, the Clinton administration has distributed press releases and other documents over the Internet. Recently adaptive surveying technology was developed and mused to collect information on the recipients of the document, the means of their distribution and the uses made of them. On the basis of responses from over 1600 recipients and distributors, we estimate 40,000 people either receive White House documents daily via mailing lists or retrieve them at least several times a week from servers, newsgroups and bulletin boards. The recipients tend to be young (85%under 50), male (80%), educated (50%have advanced degrees), and affiliated with universities (40 - 50%), government institutions (10%) or high-tech companies. Fewer than 10 publicly accessible mailing lists and servers provide documents to over 80%of these users; but some recipients are served by closed company networks which regularly distribute the documents. Only 15%of respondent say they personally pay to get the documents, and we estimate that fewer than 15%of total actual recipients retrieve the documents from forums on commercial information networks. Most respondents use the documents to follow issues of interest or get a more direct view of the political process, but 20%report the documents they receive relate to their work.

This report describes research done at the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as part of the Intelligent Information Infrastructure Project, funded by Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense under contract MDA972-93-1-0037.

Copyright Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1994
Sun Jun 5 21:21:16 EDT 1994