Libraries at University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Date of this Version



A paper presented to the History Division, AEJMC, Washington, DC, 1989

This document was digitized from ERIC Microfiche ED 332 170 with the author’s permission.


This document describes the early history of the Federal Government technical reports distribution system. The Office of Technical Services has evolved into the National Technical Information System.

Digitized by Robert L. Bolin

US information policy during the post-World War II era reflected a duality of purpose: gain international superiority in the science and technology sectors, and promote the flow of such information to small business in America. To accomplish these dual purposes, Congress and the administration cooperated to create and fund the Office of Technical Services. OTS's job was to communicate the enormous body of scientific and technical research undertaken for World War II to the American private sector. OTS functioned under the auspices of the Department of Commerce, headed at that time by Henry Wallace. Wallace and several members of Congress wanted OTS to be the vehicle whereby smal businesses could compete with the corporate giants. They viewed scientific and technical information as the key resource in the struggle between the giant companies and the much smaller companies.