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by Amy Bush — June 26, 2019
by Amy Bush — June 26, 2019

Technical or scientific reports describe the progress or results of scientific or technical research and development.  They are often done by Federal government agencies or they may be funded or sponsored by government agencies but prepared by research institutions, universities, think tanks, or other governmental or non-governmental agencies.  Publication and dissemination of technical reports has never been centrally coordinated; therefore, they can be particularly difficult to identify and locate.

Amy Bush

Research Support Services
Subject Specialist Librarian

aebush@ucdavis.edu

530-752-3058

In this Guide:

Seach U.S. government technical reports issued primarily prior to 1976 and digitized by TRAIL member libraries. Digitized series include Atomic Energy Commission, NACA, Bureau of Mines Bulletins, and NBS publications.

Science.gov is a gateway to authoritative selected science information provided by U.S. Government agencies, including research and development results. Search selected science and technology web sites and government databases.

Search NASA reports, NACA documents and selected non-NASA archives in the fields of aeronautics, space science, chemistry and materials, engineering, geosciences, life sciences, mathematics and computer sciences, and physics.

Coverage: 1917-present
Tags: Aerospace, Aviation, Science, Space

EPA’s central repository of all EPA documents with over 7,000 titles available in paper or electronic form.

DTIC is a central resource for DoD and government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related information. Search Technical Reports and find bibliographic citations or full text reports.

OSTI.GOV is the primary search tool for Department of Energy (DOE) funded science, technology, and engineering research and development (R&D) results and the organizational hub for information about the DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI). Contains DOE and its predecessors journal articles/accepted manuscripts and related metadata; scientific research datasets and collections; scientific software; technical reports; patents; conference and workshop papers; and more. OSTI.GOV has replaced SciTech Connect as the primary search tool for Department of Energy (DOE) funded science, technology, and engineering research results.  It provides access to all the information previously available in SciTech Connect, DOE Information Bridge, and Energy Citations Database.

The DEXS database provides access to records for over 115,000 USAID technical and program documents with over 11,000 available for electronic download. Includes project descriptions from 1946.

Tags: Government

NTRL (National Technical Reports Library) is from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS) within the Department of Commerce. NTRL provides access to government-sponsored research, development and technical reports with full-text access to reports that have been digitized. Searches over 3 million reports with links to over 800,000 full-text reports.

Coverage: 1964-

Technical or scientific reports describe the progress or results of scientific or technical research and development.  They are often done by Federal government agencies or they may be funded or sponsored by government agencies but prepared by research institutions, universities, think tanks, or other governmental or non-governmental agencies.  Publication and dissemination of technical reports has never been centrally coordinated; therefore, they can be particularly difficult to identify and locate.

Technical reports usually appear as part of a numbered series from the issuing agency. These numbers are important and are often the easiest way to find a specific report or document. Each agency has its own numbering system, however technical report number systems follow some common forms.

Many bibliographic references will include report numbers.  The report numbers may take different forms.  Examples might follow these formats:

  • PB97-100934
  • DE87 900540
  • N90-25278
  • NASA-TM-103200
  • NUREG-0940
  • EPA-600/S3-83-023
  • DOE/CS-0024/14
  • CONF (followed by numbers….)

DOE, NASA and the Department of Defense are top sponsors and EPA is another important agency with substantial technical report work.  A number of U.S. Government sponsors now make technical reports available full text online.

Technical reports at UC Davis are located at the Physical Sciences and Engineering Library or in Shields Library filed in the microforms collection.

Major sources of technical report literature with collection notes:

U.S. Department of Energy

Shields Library has a collection of U.S. Department of Energy Technical Reports and predecesor agencies, Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and Energy Research and Development Administration (ERDA) in microfiche. Most fiche are filed in the microfiche collection on the lower level of Shields Library.

NASA

Shields Library has NASA and older NACA reports in microfiche. Most fiche are filed in the microfiche collection in the lower level of Shields Library, however, some are in the Physical Sciences and Engineering Library.

NTIS

NTIS (National Technical Information Service) reports are received in microfiche selectively. For example, many reports contracted by or produced by the Environmental Protection Agency are received and are typically filed by their PB numbers.

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