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UMass Amherst Libraries

Writing in Engineering

Finding Technical Reports

In Technical Reports researchers tell funding agencies like the National Science Foundation (NSF) or the National Institute of Health (NIH) about their research. Use these databases to search for Technical Reports.

Provides access to a large collection of historical and current U.S. Government technical reports.  Contains PDFs of many reports.

  • OSTI - U.S. Department of Energy Office of Scientific & Technical Information

Scientific and technical reports from DOE-funded research and development activities at DOE national laboratories and facilities and at universities and other institutions nationwide.

Technical Report Libraries

About Technical Reports

Library of Congress - About Technical Reports & Standards

  • Technical Reports are issued or sponsored by government agencies, associations & societies, councils, foundations, laboratories, or academic institutions.
  • The format provides rapid communication of new research results to the funder.
  • The reports include detailed methodology and data in order to facilitate review of research results by others.
  • Technical Reports are typically not peer reviewed, but generally are the result of another selection process (grant, contract, or institutional affiliation).

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.  Technical report number systems usually include the following elements:

  • agency, society, or company delineator
  • year code
  • specific number for each report

United States Government Sponsored Technical Reports

Government issued or sponsored reports contain an additional characteristic - they may be subject to distribution restrictions linked to their classification status. Although references may be found in the literature to these reports, their security status or limited distribution may make them unavailable (consult the EPA Freedom of Information Act site as an example for guidance in obtaining these reports). The Library of Congress holds only those titles that are in the public domain. Technical reports subjects where U.S. government sponsored research is particularly prominent and widely available include:

  • Aeronautics and space exploration (NASA)
  • Defense & Military Science (DOD)
  • Earth sciences (USGS) (NASA)
  • Energy research (DOE) (NRC)
  • Engineering (DOD) (NASA)
  • Environmental sciences (EPA) (NIH)
  • Health & Life sciences (NIH)
  • Transportation (DOT) (FAA)