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Technical reports are "one type of literature commonly referred to as gray literature…defined as 'information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial printing'." (Osif, 2006)
Reports are official literature, often government funded, from all engineering disciplines.
technical reports may be published before the corresponding journal literature
content may be more detailed than the corresponding journal literature, although there may be less background information since the sponsor already knows it
Source: Osif, B.A. (2006). Using the engineering literature. New York: Routledge.
Produced by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Technical Information Service, this resource facilitates accessing the latest U.S. government-sponsored research and worldwide scientific, technical, engineering, and business-related information. NTIS is the central source for the sale of unclassified and publicly available information from research reports, journal articles, data files, computer programs, and audio visual products from Federal sources.
Science.gov is a gateway to government science information and research results. This provides a search of over 60 scientific databases and 200 million pages of scientific information with just one query, and it is a gateway to over 2200 scientific websites.
The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Scientific and Technical Information provides comprehensive access to the results of DOE research and development investments. OSTI is implementing public access to the peer-reviewed scholarly publications resulting from DOE R&D funding.
The Technical Report Archive & Image Library (TRAIL) identifies, acquires, catalogs, digitizes and provides unrestricted access to U.S. government agency technical reports.
Reports are available from:
-Atomic Energy Commission
-National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics
-National Bureau of Standards
-National Earthquake Information Center
-Office of Saline Water
-U.S. Bureau of Mines
-Office of Technical Services (U.S. Dept. of Commerce)
-U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) provides access to aerospace-related citations, full-text online documents, images, and videos. The types of information include: conference papers, journal articles, meeting papers, patents, research reports, images, movies, and technical videos.
Scientific and technical information (STI) created or funded by NASA.
The following resources provide information about current studies and reports issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine:
The National Academies' Web Site: Provides a wealth of information about activities across the institution, including information about newly released reports.
National Academies Press (NAP): Publisher for the Academies; offers print copies of reports and other material for sale and provides PDF files of reports free of charge.
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense..." NSF is vital because we support basic research and people to create knowledge that transforms the future.
CENDI’s mission is to increase the impact of federally funded science and technology by improving the management and dissemination of data and information. CENDI provides a forum for sharing expertise, promoting best practices in information management, and developing and executing collaborative projects.
Often technical reports and especially federally-funded technical reports are not in library catalogs.
Citations for technical reports often include agency names, agency report numbers or series, contract numbers, grant numbers, and accession numbers. All of these numbers and/or letters could be important in locating the report.
Use specific keywords when searching for technical reports, as they cover specialized subjects.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Building and calibration of a FAST model of the SWAY prototype floating wind turbine preprint. By J.H. Koh. (NREL/CP-5000-60096). September 2013. (Conference Paper). Available at: http://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo47393; Accessed: 05/12/2014.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Bioflocculation and the Accumulation of Chemicals by Floc-Forming Organisms. By Partick R. Dugan. (EPA-600/2-75-032). Washington: Government Printing Office, 1975. (Environmental Protection Technology Series). (EP 1.23/2:600/2-75-032).