A Comprehensive Assessment of Public Information Dissemination
BOOZ-ALLEN AND HAMILTON INC MCLEAN VA
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It was a simple announcement on a summer day. It appeared to be a straightforward proposal to solve a serious problem. Constrained by a statutory requirement for self-funding and facing a new paradigm in information dissemination, the National Technical Information Service NTIS was failing. As federal agencies distributed reports at no cost on the World Wide Web-- reports that formerly NTIS had distributed--NTIS was unable to collect revenue sufficient to cover its costs of cataloging and maintaining its collection. The proposal put forth in August 1999 by the Department of Commerce where NTIS is organizationally located was to close NTIS and move its collections and functions to the Library of Congress. The National Commission on Libraries and Information Science NCLIS immediately recognized this proposal to be far more significant than it first appeared. Fundamental issues regarding how the government used, disseminated and valued its information resources were at stake. The Commission stepped forward and prepared a preliminary assessment of the proposed closure of NTIS, which it delivered to the President and Congress. This report recommended a number of steps to keep NTIS operational, but it also stated that a much broader assessment of the underlying issues involved in public information dissemination throughout government was needed.
- Information Science