A growing movement toward public access to the federal government via the Internet has created increased interest in establishing network communications and information services, especially among national officeholders. However, little empirical study of the use and users of such services exists to guide their efforts This paper reports results of a two‐part study of the use and users of US Representative Sam Coppersmith′s (D – Arizona 1) Gopher and distribution list services during the first quarter of 1994. The first part analyzes Gopher usage data gathered during the study period. The second part detials with a user survey distributed to fifty‐seven Gopher server guest registrants and eighty listserv subscribers just after the end of the study period. The research shows that (1) use of the Gopher subdirectory dwarfs that of the listserv, (2) services like Coppersmith′s should provide basic information, as well as unique and timely information and issue position statements, (3) assessment of such services is methodologically challenging, and (4) Coppersmith′s services are effective information media that promote observability of distant officeholders, a function that helps promote increased participation in government.
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