As a result of the National Literacy Act of 1991, the National Institute for Literacy (NIFL) was created to provide national leadership on adult literacy through improved communication and information exchange. Eight literacy groups were formed to develop standards for creating a national literacy communication and dissemination system and a pilot system for literacy was first launched in August 1994. The pilot system was developed into the Literacy Information and Communication System (LINCS). LINCS was designed to organize and promote resources within the field of adult education and serve as a central repository for information.
NIFL established the LINCS discussion lists in 1995 in order to increase access to electronic information for adult educators, provide a forum for discussion of adult literacy-related policy, and connect the work of NIFL with the field. The discussion lists developed into a means to share research, knowledge, resources, and professional development opportunities. In addition, four regional centers were created in 1995. In the early 2000s, the focus of the centers were streamlined to focus on Professional Development.
In 2010, LINCS was transferred to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education. As part of this move, the Regional Professional Development Centers were reconceptualized in 2016 to form the LINCS Professional Development Center to provide the adult education field with technical assistance, professional development, and information dissemination around the use of LINCS resources.
The first comprehensive evaluation of LINCS was conducted by NIFL in 2005 and included an examination of LINCS activities, resources, and infrastructure.