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UMass Amherst Libraries


Using NTRS, STAR, and the OPAC to access NASA reports at the Science and Engineering Library.


Technical reports are notoriously difficult to find. This guide will help you find NASA Technical Reports both online and in microfiche format using the various search techniques required at the Science and Engineering Library. 

The Science and Engineering Library (SEL) has a collection of National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) documents on-line and in fiche in addition to the material directly available in the On-Line Public Access Catalog (OPAC). These documents may be searched using the NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS), Scientific and Technical Aerospace Reports (STAR)* and bibliographic information provided in the OPAC.  

* STAR in print is now available from Five College Library Annex     

Searching the NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS):

A 'first search' of the NASA Technical Reports Server, which provides a quick and comprehensive search engine for unclassified NASA documents, may provide free full text of the requested report in a downloadable format. If the search does not produce the report or if a fee will be applied the document may be available in fiche format at SEL. NTRS is listed in Databases in the Library Catalog.

Searching NASA FICHE at SEL:

Establish the date of publication of the report as this will determine the index and type of information to search. 

The publication date will be available in the NTRS abstract or may be in the OPAC record (from 1996-) if not provided in the citation. Use this date to obtain either a NASA Accession Number (-1995) or a NASA Record Number (1996-) before proceeding to the fiche cabinets labeled NASA1 and NASA2 on 3rd Floor East near the north wall

  • Thru 1995: NASA Accession NumberNASA documents in microfiche through 1995 are filed by the NASA Accession Number . The OPAC note simply reads: 'Ask at Science Reference' and provides little other information. To retrieve these fiche follow link for Hathi Trust Digital Library: Hathi Trust (on-campus) (if off-campus:Hathi Trust ) or consult the STAR index (currently available from the Five College Depository). Use the publication date of the document listed in the NTRS abstract or the citation to locate the Annual Personal Author Index or Contract Number Index for that year. The NASA Accession Number is listed to the lower right of the citation in STAR.
  • From 1996 on:  NASA Record Number: Hathi Trust or the OPAC may be consulted as these later records in the library catalog contain NASA Record Numbers. NASA fiche published in 1996 and later are filed alphabetically by Series, i.e. NASA-CP, NASA-CR, NASA-TM etc., and then by the NASA Record Number. The NASA Record Number may also be provided in the NTRS abstract.
  • For further NASA filing characteristics select NASA Fiche Filing Characteristics from menu at the left.
  • Reports published in the later months of the year may be indexed with the next year

Statement from NASA

As of May 8, 2013, the NASA Technical Reports Server contains more than 966,460 records, images, and documents for public research purposes. A subset of approximately 248,000 documents, largely consisting of older documents, including National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics (NACA) materials, remain to be reviewed, and they will be loaded back to the NASA Technical Reports Server as soon as the reviews are completed by the originating NASA Centers.