February 24, 2000
Mr. Woody Horton
National Commission on Libraries
and Information Science
1110 Vermont Avenue, N.W., Suite 820
Washington, DC 20005-3552
I write on behalf of the American Association of Law Librarians (AALL), the Association of Research Librarians (ARL), the Medical Library Association (MLA), and the Special Libraries Association (SLA). These four organizations represent a broad mix of librarians, information professionals, and institutions committed to librarianship. We offer our support for the initial findings of the study conducted by the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science (NCLIS) to address the proposed closure of the National Technical Information Service (NTIS).
Attached you will find a copy of testimony submitted to the Subcommittee on Technology for the House Science Committee at its September 14, 1999 hearings on the proposed closure of NTIS. We believe that our collective viewpoints generally match the initial findings of your study, including the following points:
- First, NTIS should not be closed nor its services transferred until there is a thorough assessment of the full range of NTIS services, of alternatives for providing each service, and of the current requirement that the NTIS program be self-supporting.
- Second, NTIS provides unique centralized services that are critically important to the ability of the public to locate and have access to the government's scientific and technical information (STI) resources, including the tangible collection and current agency web-based publications.
- And third, technology has not yet solved two key challenges in moving towards greater dissemination of STI reports through the Internet: those challenges are centralized bibliographic access and permanent public access.
The initial findings of the NCLIS study reveal a broad consensus among the various stakeholders for NTIS to continue operations with a modified mandate from Congress. Further, the government's obligation to provide access to, and dissemination of, government information is of paramount concern. Finally, Congress should commit time and resources to fully investigating the costs and benefits of the proposal submitted by the Department of Commerce, with consideration given to other viable options.
We sincerely thank NCLIS for its efforts to bring the stakeholders together on this matter, and we look forward to continued cooperation with all parties to seek a resolution that benefits the American public.
David R. Bender, Ph.D.
Attachments: Library Community Testimony submitted to the Subcommittee on Technology for the House Science Committee at its September 14, 1999 hearings on the proposed closure of NTIS.
Robert Oakley, American Association of Law Librarians (AALL)
Prudence Adler, Association of Research Libraries (ARL)
Mary Langman, Medical Library Association (MLA)
John Crosby, Special Libraries Association (SLA)