The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) is an agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. The primary mission of NTIS is to collect and organize scientific, technical, engineering, and business information generated by U.S. Government-sponsored research and development, for private industry, government, academia, and the public. The systems, equipment, financial structure, and specialized staff skills that NTIS maintains to undertake its primary mission allow it to provide assistance to other agencies requiring such specialized resources.
Under the provisions of the National Technical Information Act of 1988 (15 U.S.C. 3704b), NTIS is authorized to establish and maintain a permanent repository of non-classified scientific, technical, and engineering information; cooperate and coordinate its operations with other Government scientific, technical, and engineering information programs; and implement new methods or media for the dissemination of scientific, technical, and engineering information, including producing and disseminating information products in electronic format and to enter into arrangements necessary for the conduct of its business.
NTIS serves the United States as a central repository for government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related information to assure businesses, libraries, academia, and the public timely access to approximately 2.5 million publications covering over 350 subject areas. The stated aim of NTIS is to support the Department of Commerce mission to promote the nation's economic growth by providing access to information that stimulates innovation and discovery. (Public Law 102-245, Section 108 American Technology Preeminence Act of 1991).
Containing over 2.5 million bibliographic records, the NTIS content collection is a significant resource for accessing the latest research sponsored by the United States and select foreign governments. The collection represents the technical results of billions of dollars the U.S. Government allocates for scientific research. The contents of the collection include research reports, computer products, software, and more. The complete electronic file dates back to 1964. On average, NTIS has added over 30,000 new records per year to the collection over the past ten years. Most records include meta-data. It also contains a comprehensive collection of nuclear research, beginning with the Manhattan project, and the latest government sponsored research. NTIS covers a wide spectrum of subject areas with 39 Major Subject Categories and 375 Sub-categories.
NTIS operations includes the acquisition and archiving in perpetuity of scientific and technical information. This information is disseminated to the public on a fee-based cost-recovery model.
NTIS also provides technical support solutions to other Federal Government Agencies. These Lines of Business include:
In 2008, NTIS recognized the need to provide subscription-based access to the collection using an online platform. In April 2009, the National Technical Reports Library (NTRL) was introduced which offered convenient and cost-effective access to the collection to subscribers worldwide.
Building upon the success of the NTRL, in early 2012 NTIS introduced a beta release of the new NTRL Repository Version 3.0 which uses the open-source platform Fedora/Solr which provides a flexible, overarching repository solution. The new NTRL V3.0 is the first of several repositories planned for introduction under the new Federal Science Repository Service (FSRS).
The FSRS was created to assist government agencies with the preservation of collections consisting of scientific and technical reports, images, videos and other content which represents the mission of an agency or other institution. The FSRS provides a supporting infrastructure, long-term storage, security, interface design, content management and operational expertise. An agency can utilize this entire service or select components, resulting in the design of an agency-specific Repository that serves as a distinct gateway to its content.
NTIS' basic authority to operate a permanent clearinghouse of scientific and technical information is codified as chapter 23 of Title 15 of the United States Code (15 U.S.C. 1151-1157). This chapter also established NTIS' authority to charge fees for its products and services and to recover all costs through such fees "to the extent feasible."
This authority was restated in the National Technical Information Act of 1988, codified at 15 U.S.C. 3704b. That Act gave NTIS the authority to enter into joint ventures and declared the Clearinghouse to be a permanent Federal function that could not be eliminated or privatized without Congressional approval.
That Act was amended by the American Technology Preeminence Act of 1992 (Public Law 102-245) which:
Another statute having a profound impact on NTIS is the Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations Act for FY 1993 (Public Law 102-395) which established NTIS Revolving Fund and gave it the authority to use that Fund without further approval by Congress.
In addition, section 1526 of Title 15 of the United States Code authorizes NTIS to accept payments in advance for services to be provided to other agencies.