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Browse the CyberCemetery: OTA Legacy, About the OTA Legacy

The Congressional Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) closed on September 29, 1995. During its 23-year history, OTA provided Congressional members and committees with analyses of the scientific and technological issues that were increasingly relevant to public policy and legislative action.

OTA occupied a unique role among the Congressional information agencies.  Unlike the General Accounting Office, which is primarily concerned with evaluation of ongoing programs, and the Congressional Research Service, which provides rapid information on legislative topics, OTA provided a deeper, more comprehensive, and more technical level of analysis. Through eleven Congressional sessions, OTA became a key resource for Congressional members and staff confronting technological issues in crafting public policy. Its existence brought a healthy balance to the analytical resources available to the executive and legislative branches of government.

The agency's legacy is found in the many items of legislation it influenced and in the channels of communication its staff helped foster between legislative policymakers and members of the scientific, technical, and business communities. The Office's legacy is also found in its hundreds of publications, gathered for the first time in electronic form on the set of 5 CD-ROMs: The OTA Legacy, 1972-1995.

This Web site presents the complete contents of the five CD-ROMs with additional enhancements and  features that facilitate access and retrieval.  This site includes all the formally issued reports of the Office of Technology Assessment, as well as many background papers and contractor papers—over 100,000 pages of the best available analyses of the scientific and technical policy issues of the past two decades. In addition, the site contains supplemental historical materials, (as they appear on the discs), that illuminate the history and impact of the agency, which has been widely imitated internationally by governments interested in wise and informed stewardship of the public trust on issues with technical complexity. The OTA reports collected here are widely acknowledged to be nonpartisan, objective, and thorough. In many cases, they have also proven to be of enduring interest and relevance. By publishing its written legacy in electronic form, the Office of Technology Assessment hopes to preserve the investment made in its work for future users.

In light of this, the University of North Texas Libraries and the U.S. Government Printing Office, in a Federal Depository Library Program partnership, established this site to provide permanent, Web based, public access to the publications of the Office of Technology Assessment, United States Congress (OTA).

Your comments and suggestions about this site are welcomed.

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This page is maintained by Starr Hoffman, and was last updated on February 02, 2009.