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Putting the Information Infrastructure to Work

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Citation Edit

National Institute of Standards and Technology, Putting the Information Infrastructure to Work: Report of the Information Infrastructure Task Force Committee on Applications and Technology (May 1994) (not available online).

Overview Edit

This report explores some of the opportunities and obstacles to the use of the National Information Infrastructure (NII) by people and organizations. The goal is to express how improvements in the technical foundation upon which all modern communications rests can benefit all Americans by focusing on the uses of the NII and the benefits to be derived by applications of advanced computing and communications technologies.

This document describes how the evolving NII can: enhance the competitiveness of our manufacturing base; increase speed and efficiency of electronic commerce; improve health care delivery and control costs; promote development and accessibility of quality education and lifelong learning; improve effectiveness of environmental monitoring and assessing human impacts upon the earth; sustain the role of libraries as agents of democratic and equal access to information; and provide government services to the public faster, more responsively, and more efficiently.

In addition to articulating a national vision that can serve as a framework for discussion and dialogue, a second goal is to improve public policy-making, to identify critical barriers, enablers, and the tools of government action most effective in each of these areas. In this way, the benefits of government activities in support of the NII can be maximized, while minimizing unintended or undesirable consequences. Several themes emerge: equity of access; pursuit of demonstrations and pilot projects; standards setting process; privacy and communications security; training and support; identification of long-term research and development priorities; and performance measurements to assess both public and private investments and experiments. It is hoped that careful consideration of the policy questions raised here will both facilitate the development of the NII and guide its evolution so that it best meets public purposes.

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