APS members are making greater and more frequent use of electronic services such as email and the World Wide Web, but are less familiar with emerging electronic preprint servers, according to the results of a member survey that accompanied the 1995 general election ballots earlier this year.
The APS began including survey questions on the annual election ballot last year, when the company that provides the service, Interactive Computerized Elections (ICE), offered the feature at no additional cost, depending on available space. "Since the electronic capabilities of our members are changing quickly and are important to the services we offer, the APS officers and staff decided to include questions that would give us data to guide us towards improving member services," said Tracy Alinger, APS information services manager. Last year the ballot survey feature was used to determine how many APS members used electronic mail, and to update their email addresses.
More than 9,000 members responded to the survey. Eighty-three percent of the respondents said they had accessed electronic mail to and from the Internet, and 78 percent did so on a regular basis. Nearly 67 percent of respondents had accessed the World Wide Web, with 44 percent regularly using the service, and similar percentages used electronic ftp services. However, only 30 percent had made use of electronic preprint servers, with 13 percent using them regularly.
Nearly half (47 percent) of the respondents regularly use Windows PC systems, with MacIntosh and UNIX workstations ranking second in popularity, each used by 37 percent of respondents. Only 19 percent said they used PCs with DOS only. Apparently a number of members use more than one computer system since the total of the above numbers exceed 100 percent.
The ballot survey also included a box that members could check to request that information be sent to them on either Physical Review Letters online or the members-only version of Physical Review B Rapids. Both electronic products have recently been introduced by the APS (see APS NEWS, February 1995). Twenty-five percent requested PRL-o information and 12 percent requested PRB-RC information. Alinger emphasized that the confidentiality of the ballots was not compromised by doing so. "We never saw the actual ballots," she said. "ICE merely sent us a set of labels for those who requested information."
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