[OTA LOGO] Technology Assessment and the Work of Congress

The Office of Technology Assessment 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, the 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 at this world wide web site and on the companion set of CD-ROMs, The OTA Legacy, 1972-1995.

This site contains 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 links below lead to information about how OTA prepared the reports, and to supplemental historical materials 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.

History and Function of the Office of Technology Assessment

The Assessment Process

The Technology Assessment Act

Technology Assessment: Current Trends and the Myth of a Formula (Peter Blair)

New Challenge or Past Revisited? The Office of Technology Assessment in Historical Context (Gregory Kunkle)

The End of OTA

Remarks of Roger Herdman, OTA Director

In Memoriam: The Office of Technology Assessment, 1972-1995 (Hon. Amo Houghton)

Press Coverage

Technology Assessment No Longer Theoretical (Chemical and Engineering News, 1970)

The Debate Over Assessing Technology (Business Week, 1972)

OTA Caught in Partisan Crossfire (Technology Review, 1977)

Little-Known Agency Draws Worldwide Interest (New York Times, 1984)

OTA Emerges as Nonpartisan Player (Associated Press/Washington Post, 1988)

Death by Congressional Ignorance (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 1995)

Congress's Science Agency Prepares to Close Its Doors (New York Times, 1995)

The OTA LegacyOTA and Congress
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