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The Dictionary of Occupational Titles or D-O-T (DOT) refers to the defunct publication produced by the United States Department of Labor which matched job seekers to jobs from 1938 to the late 1990s. It was then rendered obsolete and replaced by a database which is largely informed by people who have direct experience working in each occupation, the Occupational Information Network or the O*NET.
The entire O*NET database is available free of charge to the general public for job analysis and workforce planning via a searchable web-based application O*NET Online. Businesses and programmers may choose to download the latest update of the entire O*NET database for their own use through O*NET Center. The O*NET Database, and the official O*NET-related websites mentioned here, are updated and maintained regularly by the National Center for O*NET Development, sponsored by the US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration.
The Dictionary of Occupational Titles was first published in 1938 and "emerged in an industrial economy and emphasized blue-collar jobs. Updated periodically, the DOT provided useful occupational information for many years. But its usefulness waned as the economy shifted toward information and services and away from heavy industry." During the 1990s, the hard-copy book format of the DOT was discarded and was replaced in 1998 by the online database known as Occupational Information Network (O*NET). O*NET classifies jobs in job families (functional areas which may include workers in the same category from entry level to advanced, and across several sub-specialties), so there are only about 974 categories listed, instead of over 12,000 categories in the D-O-T.
Although the DOT was deemed obsolete and then abandoned by the Employment Service and the Department of Labor, the data from the 1991 revised fourth edition of the Dictionary of Occupational Titles is used extensively at the Social Security Administration in litigation related to applications for Social Security disability benefits and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for adult claimants. The DOT is still used extensively for performing Transferable Skills Analysis with SSA claimants. Vocational Evaluators also use DOT data when working with injured workers who seek insurance settlements and/or vocational rehabilitation services. It is also relied upon in immigration adjudication within the United States. On December 9, 2008, the Social Security Administration announced the formation of an Occupational Information Development Advisory Panel under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). The Social Security Administration explained: "Panel members will analyze the occupational information used by SSA in our disability programs and provide expert guidance as we develop an occupational information system (OIS) tailored for these programs. We plan to design the OIS to improve our disability policies and processes and to ensure up-to-date vocational evidence in our disability programs. We will select Panel members based primarily on their occupational expertise. This Panel will provide guidance on our plans and actions to replace the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and its companion volume, The Selected Characteristics of Occupations."