Privatizing Government Information: The Effects of Policy on Access to Landsat Satellite Data

The commercialization of the Landsat satellite system in 1984 was a poorly-conceived experiment in public policy and a disaster for environmental change researchers. This book analyzes the tragic story of the United States Congress' failure to stop the privatization initiative of the Reagan Administration, and describes the subsequent consequences on the ability of U.S. academic geographers to conduct remote sensing research and to teach using Landsat data. It also discusses the key role that the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science played in preserving the data and establishing the National Satellite Remote Sensing Data Archive. With the repeal of the legislation in 1992, the author revisits the case history and examines the new U.S. remote sensing data policies. Eisenbeis describes the developing field of information policy as an area of research and places the study of Landsat firmly within the conceptual contexts of public policy and information and library science research. This award-winning research is unique in its examination of the effects of a policy action on the use of a particular type of government-produced information, and its use of multiple research methods. The extensive literature review is a valuable reference for librarians, researchers, and students of government information policy.