My first contact with NTIS (which I think stands for National Technical Information Service, the techie wing of the Commerce Department) was back in 1970 or so when I was trying to research word processors and then CRT's--bought a couple publications of theirs. Not much has changed, as Matt Yglesias discovers--their publications are now on CD's, but they still cost ($80). Matt thinks information yearns to be free; I believe the problem for NTIS is their operations are not funded by Congress, but by user fees. This is somewhat similar to the Administrative Conference of the US which uses its online document service fees ($.08 per page to download) rather expansively.
In principle I think all information generated within the government should be on line, searchable, and available at no charge.