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How Do I Find?

Technical Reports

  • What Are Technical Reports?
  • Identifying Technical Reports Using Indexes and Abstracts
  • Finding Technical Reports Owned By Stanford
  • Finding Technical Reports on the Internet
  • What are Technical Reports?

    Technical reports describe the progress or results of scientific or technical research and development. They are usually produced in response to a specific request or research need, and serve as a report of accountability to the funding organization.

    Technical reports usually fall into two categories:

    • Government sponsored research reports
    • Privately funded research reports

    Both categories may include national or international reports by university departments, institutes, private industry, or government agencies and laboratories.

    Publication and dissemination of technical reports has not been centrally coordinated; therefore, they can be particularly difficult to identify and locate.

    Identifying Technical Reports Using Indexes and Abstracts

    Indexes and abstracts databases from the Stanford Science and Engineering Libraries are a good place to begin to identify technical reports by topic, report number, author, etc.

    National Technical Information Service (NTIS)

      NTIS Database covers 1964 to the present. It is the primary resource for accessing U.S. Government sponsored research and worldwide scientific, technical, and engineering 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. Information is also available from international government departments and other international organizations including those in Canada, Japan, the former Soviet Union, and both Western and Eastern European countries. The database is accessed via EBSCOhost.

    Aerospace & High Technology Database

      The Aerospace & High Technology database covers 1962 to the present, with about half of the records dated after 1982. As of January 2008 there were 4 million records. The database indexes basic and applied research in aeronautics, astronautics, and space sciences, and also covers technology development and applications in supporting fields such as chemistry, geosciences, physics, communications, and electronics. The main sources are over 3,000 periodicals, conference proceedings, technical reports, trade journal/newsletter items, patents, books, and press releases, but r eports by NASA, other U.S. government agencies, international institutions, universities, and private firms may also be included. Access to the database is via CSA Illumina.

    Finding Technical Reports Owned By Stanford

    Technical reports owned by the Stanford Libraries are cataloged in Socrates. Many of these reports can be located in Socrates by author, title, and performing organization. Some reports, including NACA, NASA, and AGARD, are only catalogued as a serial such as "NASA Technical Memorandum". In these cases it's best to search under the series name, and limit the search to "periodical title " to see which library owns the report series.

    The Branner Earth Sciences Library has published a specialized guide to Finding Technical Reports in the Earth Sciences.

    For additional assistance in locating technical reports owned by Stanford or in obtaining reports not owned, please contact the reference desks at the Engineering, Math/CS, or Earth Sciences Libraries.

    Finding Technical Reports on the Internet

    There are many technical report sites on the Internet. Many offer searching capabilities, access to full-text, ftp access, or on-line ordering.

    AERADE Reports Archive

      The Aerade Reports Archive incorporates more than ten thousand, historically significant, digitised reports from the Aeronautical Research Council (ARC ) - the principal agency in Great Britain with a major output of reports on matters aeronautical, which existed from 1909-1979, and published reports until 1980. Also included are reports from the U.S. National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) - chartered in 1915 and operational from 1917-1958.

    Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center (CRREL)

      The results of CRREL's research projects are published in a technical report series covering topics of interest to Civil and Environmental Engineers. As each report is published, it is made available on the Web. Reports from 1995 to date are presented here, as well as some older ones.

    Computer Science Technical Reports at Stanford

      Stanford Computer Science Department's Technical Report Electronic Library was part of an ARPA funded project, directed by CNRI, to develop concepts for linking electronic libraries. This server allows you to retrieve and view technical reports from participating institutions and other sources of Computer Science Technical Reports.

    Contrails – the Wright Air Development Center Collection

      This site is a permanent digital repository for 1000 technical reports issued by the Wright Air Development Center/Wright Air Development Division throughout the 1950's and 1960's as part of the "race for space."  The site also pursues the digitization of any government published resources that contribute to this history, including technical reports published by the Wright Air Development Center, its successors, and other agencies. Sponsored by the Paul V. Gavin Library, Illinois Institute of Technology.

    Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) Scientific and Technical Information Network (STINET)

      DTIC's Technical Report collection includes all unclassified, unlimited technical report citations since 1974. Some reports are available full-text online. The scope of DTIC's collection includes areas normally associated with Defense research; however, since DoD's interests are widespread, the collection also contains information relating to hard sciences such as biological and medical sciences; environmental pollution and control; and the behavioral and social sciences.

    Department of Energy Information Bridge

      The U.S. Dept. of Energy Information Bridge provides free access to full-text DoE research and development reports and the DOE contractor research and development community in physics, chemistry, materials, biology, environmental sciences, energy technologies, engineering, computer and information science, renewable energy, and other topics. The current collection includes reports that have been received and processed since 1995. Legacy documents are added as they become available in electronic format.

    E-Print Network

      E-Print is a gateway to over 27,850 Web sites and databases worldwide, containing over 5 million e-prints in basic and applied sciences, primarily in physics but also including subject areas such as chemistry, biology and life sciences, materials science, nuclear sciences and engineering, energy research, computer and information technologies, and other disciplines of interest to DOE.

    Energy Citations Database

      The Energy Citations Database (ECD) provides free access to over 2.3 million science research citations from 1948 through the present, with continued growth through regular updates. There are over 150,000 electronic documents, primarily from 1994 forward, available via the database. Citations and documents are made publicly available by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and cover topics such as chemistry, physics, materials, environmental science, geology, engineering, mathematics, climatology, oceanography, computer science and related disciplines. It includes citations to report literature, conference papers, journal articles, books, dissertations, and patents.


      Energyfiles is a metasite of over 500 databases and Web sites containing information and resources pertaining to science and technology of interest to the Department of Energy, with an emphasis on the physical sciences.

    EPA National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP)

      The National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP). NSCEP was created by the EPA as the Agency's central repository and distribution center for EPA publications. You can browse the National EPA Publications Catalog, order documents or see what's new.


      FIREDOC is a fire research bibliographic database with 70,000 published reports, journal articles, conference proceedings, books, and audiovisual items. Each reference has complete citation information and there is a direct link from the FIREDOC record to BFRL Publications Online if the item is available. Currently, links exist for BFRL fire research publications from the year 2004.

    Hewlett-Packard Laboratories Technical Reports

      Available here are abstracts of HP Labs Technical Reports from 1990 to the present. Also included are some Heritage Technical Reports from DEC, Compaq and Tandem. Many full images of reports are also available. If you see a report that does not include the full image, you can request a paper copy from HP Labs Technical Reports Department

    IBM Research Reports

      Searchable index of research reports. Some reports are available for download. Once a technical report is published in either a journal or conference proceedings, it is sometimes replaced with a reference to the external source.

    MIT Center for Advanced Nuclear Energy Systems (CANES)

      The Center’s programs involve the development and application of methods for the design, operation, and regulation of current and advanced nuclear reactors and fuel cycles.CANES provides reports on Nuclear Engineering at MIT since 1990.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

      NTRS provides access to over 1 million aerospace related citations, 90K full-text online documents, and 111K images and videos. NTRS numbers continues to grow over time as new scientific and technical information (STI) is created or funded by NASA. The type of information found in NTRS include: conference papers, images, journal articles, photos, meeting papers, movies, patents, research reports, and technical videos.

      Documents published prior to 1959 can be found in the NACA collection, which contains the full text of Technical Notes, and Technical Memoranda from 1917-1958

    NSCEP/NEPIS – Environmental Protection Agency's Gateway to Free Digital & Paper Publications

      NSCEP / NEPIS is the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's publications resource for over 26,000 digital titles are available FREE of charge to search and retrieve, download, print and/or order from the National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP).

      National Environmental Publications Internet Site ( NEPIS) database was integrated under (NSCEP) for one stop access to all EPA publications.

    Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) Legacy

      The OTA Legacy site includes a complete archive of reports and information about the history and impact of the now-defunct agency. "OTA provided Congressional members and committees with objective and authoritative analysis of the complex scientific and technical issues of the late 20th century."


      Quakeline is a freely available bibliographic database developed and maintained by the Information Service of the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER). It covers earthquakes, earthquake engineering, natural hazard and disaster mitigation, and related topics. Varied publications are featured, including books, journal articles, conference papers, proceedings, technical reports, CDs, slides, and videos. The database is updated on a monthly basis and currently provides content for over 44,900 records. searches across the web sites of over 50 U.S. government agencies, and many of the resources are full-text.


      Use TechXtra meta-searching tool to find articles, key websites, technical reports, books, industry news, job announcements, e-journals, e-prints, thesis & dissertations in Engineering, Mathematics, and Computing.

    TRAIL: Technical Report Archive and Image Library

      Trail is a collaborative project to digitize, archive, and provide persistent and unrestricted access to federal technical reports issued prior to 1975.

    Virtual Technical Reports Center

      A group of institutions which provide either full-text reports, or searchable extended abstracts of their technical reports. This site has links to technical reports, preprints, reprints, dissertations, theses, and research reports of all kinds. Some metasites are listed by subject categories, as well as by institution. Supported by the Univ. of Maryland.

    World Resources Institute

      WRI provides the complete texts of over 300 reports, papers, and books on environmental issues. Includes online editions of its flagship publication, World Resources. Many publications are available in Adobe Acrobat format from the Publications Menu.

      This global science gateway searches national and international scientific databases, providing one-stop searching of global science sources. It currently searches 15 countries technical reports collections at once.

    Kathleen Gust
    Engineering Library

    Last modified: January 30, 2008

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