Better Information Management Policies Needed:

A Study of Scientific and Technical Bibliographic Services

PSAD-79-62: Published: Aug 6, 1979. Publicly Released: Aug 6, 1979.

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The Federal Government needs to recognize the value of the scientific, technical, and other specialized information it produces and take steps to manage it as carefully as it does other valuable resources. A study was made of the biblographic systems of 38 information centers in five agencies. The study confirmed the need for better information management cited in many reports over the past decade, and identified problems of duplication of services and facilities and failure to recover costs in the operation of scientific and technical bibliographic information systems.

Despite the recommendations of numerous reports over the years, managing information does not have a high priority within Federal departments and agencies. Agencies generally have not designated a single, high-level official responsible for managing and coordinating information activities. Little attention is paid to coordinating scientifc and technical information activities across agency lines. Absence of a Government-wide coordinating committee may have resulted in a lower concern for managing scientific and technical information. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy question the need for a permanent coordinating committee. However, to be effective, the committee must have some degree of permanence and continuity, have a formal channel to a strong focal point, and receive strong support and leadership from the policymaking level. Agencies' policies and practices for recovering the cost of providing bibliographic services to public and private-sector users are not consistent with Federal policies and OMB guidance.

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