Commerce Secretary William M. Daley intends to close the National Technical Information Service.1 NTIS is the federal government's central agency for the sale of scientific, technical, engineering, and business-related information produced for or by the United States government. Its collection includes about three million publications representing billions of dollars of information paid for by taxpayers. It distributes more than 170,000 subscription issues annually, maintains online databases, distributes electronic and printed products, provides custom information services, and manages Web sites for other agencies.

About a third of NTIS's orders for technical reports are for material five years old or older. Its records indicate some 60,000 U.S. customers. Although it is one of the largest publishers in the world, you won't find its titles in Books in Print or in other typical trade distribution channels. It gets no appropriated funds to carry out its mission and so must charge prices to...

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