Third, the O*NET™ database can be accessed and used through multiple windows or modes, including not only entering with job titles or occupations at varying levels of hierarchical detail, but also entering at the level of work descriptors (i.e., knowledge, skills, abilities, other contextual factors). The latter window of access is extremely important in a world of work that is changing. It allows the user to build up inductively to the level of job or occupation, in contrast to systems that proceed deductively, starting with a job or occupational category that is nested in the past and may not be current in its ratings or job descriptive information. When fully developed, this will be a valuable feature for users wishing to depict presently emerging or newly designed jobs, or even to design a new occupation.

Fourth, O*NET™ offers a significant improvement over earlier systems, particularly DOT-based systems, in the ease of conducting cross-occupational analyses and comparisons.

Finally, the O*NET™ system, by utilizing the cross-walks supplied by the National Occupational Information Coordinating Committee, allows mapping to other major category and enumerative systems, including military classification systems. The O*NET™ system will include the revised SOC classification categories as its primary designation of lowest-level occupational units, although some of the SOC units may need to be further split—just as some of the current OES units were split in the prototype development effort. (O*NET™ occupational units were developed by analysts who estimated the similarity of occupations using a combination of DOT and OES information. The SOCRPC considered O*NET™ occupational units in revising the SOC categories, which in turn were adopted in some instances for use in O*NET™.) Given the apparent new widespread commitment of federal statistical agencies to use the revised SOC system, all such applications and data gathering efforts would in effect be seamlessly interleaved (or nearly so) with the O*NET™ categories and database. This would allow, for example, information collected in the Current Population Survey or the Occupational and Employment Statistics Surveys to be merged, providing continuous updates of selected occupational information in the O*NET™ database.

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