Friday, 1 August 2014

"Let Me Google That For You Act"

"Let Me Google That For You Act" is the informal title of Senate bill 2206 (summary) (full text of bill), which seeks to abolish the NTIS (National Technical Information Service). The companion bill in the House of Representatives  is H.R. 4382.  A number of library organizations, including the AALL, ALA and ARL have been involved in discussions with Congressional staff about the bill, working to support the NTIS. The Free Government Information (FGI) Blog has more information about the bill, and why these gov doc librarians are opposed to it. FGI points out that the sponsors of the bill seem to lack understanding of how Google works - that Google doesn't actually write the NTIS reports, it just links to them when you are searching on a particular topic. 
"The text of the bill observes that many reports available from NTIS can also be found through publicly searchable websites, such as Google and, but fails to appreciate that this availability is often precisely because NTIS had a hand in collecting and publicly distributing them....Furthermore, many of the agencies which published reports in the NTIS collection no longer exist, leaving NTIS as their only surviving source. In fact, over two million of its reports exist only in paper or microform, and are not available in digital form from any source. Alarmingly, this bill makes no provision for the preservation of these reports or the cataloging data which facilitates access to them."

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