This paper examines the inter-relationship between recent developments in information technology and the planning for the evaluation of the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) system. It argues that in the light of radical changes currently taking place in the networked information environment and user expectations, bold strategic planning is more important than formal retrospective evaluation. It identifies a number of key areas requiring careful consideration, including funding not only for centralized research and development but for innovation in the clearinghouses that are part of the ERIC system, and for explicit technology transfer mechanisms that migrate individual clearinghouse-based advances into infrastructure that supports the entire system. Further, it considers how environmental technology changes are reshaping the ERIC mission and context, with emphasis on a transition from database building to content access services and full text provision via the World Wide Web. It proposes that ERIC restructure its relationship to the literature of education, both formal and informal, and calls for the ERIC system to undertake a leadership role in coordinating federal government (and other) digital library initiatives as they relate to education as part of its role as a major component of the National Library of Education. (Author/AEF).