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This technical memorandum analyzes the arguments for and against the National Library of Medicine's (NLM) creation and dissemination of health-related bibliographic information. It provides information designed to help Congress in decisions regarding the appropriate mix of NLM and private sector activities that might serve the public interest most efficiently.
A principal finding is that in most respects MEDLARS is an efficient system for disseminating health-related bibliographic information. In regard to the relationship of NLM and the private information sector, OTA's main findings are: (1) that there are insufficient empirical data to decide, on purely technical grounds, the most efficient and effective configuration of public and private bibliographic activities; and (2) that rapid developments in the computer and communications fields may, in the not too distant future, profoundly alter the effects of current decisions.