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Find Technical Reports

A quick guide to finding technical reports.

Why Technical Reports?

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.

Core Electronic Resources

Federally-Funded Technical Reports - Additional Resources

Search Tips

  • 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.
  • Many technical reports are disseminated directly through the agencies themselves and/or the National Technical Information Service (NTIS)

Example Citations

  • 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:; 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).