Skip to main content

Government Science Information

What is a Technical Report?

Government technical reports are written by and for experts within certain disciplines and document the progress of scientific research. Reports are often not peer-reviewed or well edited, but they are released quickly, and can be more up-to-date than books or articles.

These reports may be difficult to locate, especially when looking for an older report. Technical reports are usually part of a numbered series. They can be searched by the title of the report or the series title. Often it is helpful to know which agency is responsible for the report, so that you can search that agency's website or search the agency as author in our online cataog. (Example:author as United states Environmental Protection Agency)

To add to the challenge of locating technical reports is the fact that they are often poorly cited by other authors.

Below are some resources to help you locate government technical reports:

NTIS (National Technical Information Services) "The National Technical Information Service serves as the largest central resource for government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related information available today." The Library has a very small number of these reports, most of them on microfiche. The call numbers all start with "NTIS" followed by the NTIS numbers such as AD832944 and PB294210. Some of the documents owned by the Library have never been cataloged, and these are listed by NTIS number in the card catalog located in the Scholars Commons of Strozier Library.

Locating Technical Reports

Government technical reports are written by and for experts within certain disciplines and document the progress of scientific research. Reports are often not peer-reviewed or well edited, but they are released quickly, and can be more up-to-date than books or articles.

These reports may be difficult to locate, especially when looking for an older report. Technical reports are usually part of a numbered series. They can be searched by the title of the report or the series title. Often it is helpful to know which agency is responsible for the report, so that you can search that agency's website or search the agency as author in our online cataog. (Example: author as United states Environmental Protection Agency)

To add to the challenge of locating technical reports is the fact that they are often poorly cited by other authors.

Technical Reports and Standards, written by the Library of Congress, Science Reference Services contains more information about government technical reports. Another source for technical report information, also mentioned on the Library of Congress' site referred to above, is the GAO report entitled, Information Management: Dissemination of Technical Reports, 2001.

Below are some resources to help you locate government technical reports:

NTIS (National Technical Information Services) "The National Technical Information Service serves as the largest central resource for government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related information available today." The Library has a very small number of these reports, most of them on microfiche. The call numbers all start with "NTIS" followed by the NTIS numbers such as AD832944 and PB294210. Some of the documents owned by the Library have never been cataloged, and these are listed by NTIS number in the card catalog located in the Scholars Commons of Strozier Library.

U.S. Government Research Reports Technical reports indexes for 1955-1962. Also available in STROZIER, Documents General Collection -- C51.9/3:

DOE Information Bridge "free public access to over 266,000 full-text documents and bibliographic citations of Department of Energy (DOE) research report literature. Documents are primarily from 1991 forward and were produced by DOE, the DOE contractor community, and/or DOE grantees." Some of these reports are in microfiche in the Scholars Commons in Strozier Library. The call numbers may be in E1.28, or E1.99. Not all of them are in the online catalog.

DOE Collections Provides access to science research citations, with many full-text links. Some of these reports are in microfiche in the Scholars Commons in Strozier Library. The call numbers may be in E1.28, or E1.99. Not all of them are in the online catalog.

DTIC Technical Reports Defense Technical Information Center The largest central resource for Department of Defense and government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related information available.


National Technical Information Service
(NTIS) Some reports are free to access, after registering for a free account.

NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Access to current and historical research technical literature from NASA. This site incorporates the NACA Collection that contains Citations and reports from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics from 1916 to 1958, the NASA Collection, which contains citations and documents from 1958 to current and the NIX Collection, which contain photos and images from NASA.

TRAIL (Technical Report Archive and Image Library)
"Search U.S. government technical reports issued primarily prior to 1975 and digitized by the TRAIL Working Groups."

The Virtual Technical Reports Center Has E-prints, preprints and technical reports from many institutions and government agencies.

Publications and Technical Reports (EPA)

USGS Open-File Reports Some of these reports are available in print and/or microfiche in the Scholars Commons in Strozier Library. The call numbers start with I19.3: and many are in the Libraries' online catalog.

Contrails "Digital Trails of Technical literature formed in the wake of aerospace research"
This site helps "to help preserve and disseminate the technical history of the first century of powered human flight."

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Includes many full-text publications from 1971 to current.

Public Technical Reports (DTIC)

CRRLL Technical Publications U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory.

ADAMS Public Documents (U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission)

National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) "A national laboratory of the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, operated by the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC>"

USAID Documents U.S. Agency for International Development.

U.S. Atomic Energy Commission The Library has many reports from this agency. The reports are located in the Scholars Commons, in the call number Y3.At 7: The reports are in print and microfiche. This commission was established by the Atomic Energy Act of 1946 and it was abolished by the Energy Reorganization of 1974 when its function was transferred to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Energy Research and Development Administration. The Commission was in existence from 1946-1974. This set is indexed in Nuclear Science Abstracts, located in the Scholars Commons of Strozier Library, in the call number, ER1.10: or the database. NSAview.

The Florida State University Libraries
Library Hours | Maps and Directions | Employment | Giving to the Libraries | The FSULib Blog | Library Homepage

© 2016 Florida State University Libraries | 116 Honors Way | Tallahassee, FL 32306 | (850) 644-2706