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The Commerce Department has proposed shutting down the National Technical Information Service because its function of reselling government documents "is no longer needed in this day of advanced electronic technology."
A statement announcing the decision noted that the agency's core business - the sale of government documents in microfiche and on paper - "is rapidly becoming less of the necessity it was as agencies and groups have begun to post their reports on the Internet for free," pointing out that a recent report can be downloaded from the department's Web site at no cost rather than ordered for a $27 fee through NTIS.
In 1987 Congress ordered NTIS to become self-sustaining, but the agency's sales have dramatically declined over the last six years. Commerce Secretary William Daley's August 12 announcement followed …