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Technical Reports Collection

Technical Reports Collection

Technical reports are "works that describe the progress or results of scientific or technical research and development," usually produced in response to a specific request or research need, which serve as a report of accountability to the funding organization. Technical reports usually fall into two categories: government sponsored research reports and privately funded research reports. Both categories may include national or international reports by university departments, institutes, private industry, or government agencies and laboratories.

Technical reports are often more detailed than articles in the peer-reviewed journal literature. They may be hundreds of pages long and may include supporting materials that never make it into journal publications, such as data sets or programming code. In addition, researchers in the private sector may not have any incentive to publish the results of contracted research in a peer-reviewed journal, as academic researchers do, and so the technical report they write for their funding agency may represent the first, and only, place that a particular piece of research is published.

Locating Reports

The University Libraries have a collection of over 1.5 million technical reports, with major holdings of reports by DOE, NASA, EPA, and their contractors. Most of the reports are on microfiche and are filed in fiche cabinets located in the fiche cabinets in the basement floor of Lockwood Library. Reports on microfiche are filed either by technical report number (e.g., BNL-25708, NASA-CR-182000) or NTIS accession number (e.g., AD-678750 or PB-182571). Most of our print technical reports are filed by SuDoc number (e.g., I 19.76:91-500) on the first floor of the Lockwood Library in our U.S. Government Documents Collection. However, some print reports may be filed by LC Class in our regular Lockwood Book Collection.

To determine if we have a particular technical report, begin by searching the UB Libraries' Catalog. Technical reports are cataloged  either individually or serially (meaning that there is a single serial record describing the series as a whole with detailed volume holdings information noted telling you exactly which volumes, or paper numbers, we own).

If a report is not listed in the Catalog, it does not mean we do not own it. Other tools that can be used to identify and locate technical reports include a number of electronic databases and print indexes, including the NTIS Database (see below).

If we do not own a report, you may fill out an Delivery+ request for it and we will try to obtain a copy of it from another library.

Microfiche readers/printers/scanners are available in the basement of the Lockwood Library for viewing and/or scanning.


The NTIS Database is the major indexing source for reports handled by the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), which is a self-supporting agency whose mission is the indexing and selling of technical reports and other literature, most often produced as a result of U.S. government-sponsored research and development. UB has access to the NTIS database for the years 1899-present. It provides citations to reports on government-sponsored R+D in the physical sciences, technology, engineering, biological sciences, medicine and health sciences, agriculture, and social sciences. The print version, Government Reports Announcements & Index (GRA&I), can also be searched for information on reports. GRA&I, and its various precedent titles, are available in the Lockwood Periodicals Collection (Call Number Z 7916 G78). It ceased publication in 1996.

Now that so many reports are born-digital, many federal agencies make their reports available on their own servers. Unfortunately, this often means that many documents are no longer sent to NTIS in electronic or paper form. Searchers are advised to search NTIS, Google/Google Scholar,, and various agency web sites/report servers to assure a more complete search. 

The Catalog of United States Publications database is an index to United States federal documents, primarily those distributed through the depository program. It includes citations to many technical reports. Coverage is for the years 1976-present. We own many of the technical reports indexed by the Monthly Catalog.

Web Archive: TRAIL

TRAIL - Technical Report Archive and Image Library
TRAIL is a cooperative program to identify, digitize, archive, and provide access to federal technical reports issued prior to 1975. This initiative is led by the University of Arizona in collaboration with the Center for Research Libraries (CRL) and other interested agencies. The TRAIL Project began under the auspices of the Greater Western Library Alliance. The archive currently contains over 20,000 full-text technical reports.

Performing Agencies

Our collection includes a large number of Department of Energy (DOE) reports. These reports typically have technical report numbers beginning with "DOE," although reports produced under the sponsorship of the DOE national labs usually have their own report number prefix codes assigned to them ("BNL," for Brookhaven National Laboratory, for example).

DOE's National Library of Energy provides a unified (federated) search engine across all of DOE's major citation and full-text databases.

In addition, the DOE Office of Scientific & Technical Information maintains SciTech Connect, which merges the contents of two separate databases (the DOE Information Bridge and the Energy Citations Database).  SciTech Connect includes technical reports, bibliographic citations, journal articles, conference papers, books, multimedia, and data information sponsored by DOE.  This includes over 2.5 million citations, including citations to 1.4 million journal articles, 364,000 of which have digital object identifiers (DOIs) linking to full-text articles on publishers’ websites. SciTech Connect also has over 313,000 full-text DOE sponsored science and technical reports; most of these are post-1991, but close to 85,000 of the reports were published prior to 1990.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) issues numerous reports dealing not only with aeronautics and space, but with related aerospace aspects of earth resources, energy, and the environment. We have many of these reports in our collection, in both print and on microfiche. NASA reports on microfiche typically have report numbers beginning with "NASA." We have made a special effort to include NASA reports in the UB Libraries' Catalog, which we recommend you try searching first to determine if we may own a NASA report. If you don't find it in BISON, ask for help via e-mail at

You can search for and access NASA technical reports and other publications through its NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS).

NASA's predecessor agency was the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). This agency published documents from 1915-1960. The UB Libraries have a large collection of NACA reports in paper, which are shelved in the Government Documents Collection in Lockwood Library under SuDocs numbers beginning with "Y3.N21/5:." The UB Libraries' Catalog contains a record for each report series, e.g., NACA Wartime Reports, under the author "United States National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics." The individual reports are not cataloged. Use the NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Server to search for citations to these documents.

The Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) makes Department of Defense-related information available to government agencies and government contractors. Some UB researchers who are government contractors may have access to the full DTIC information network. The publicly available version provides access to unclassified/unlimited technical reports published since 1974. Included in it are some full text DTIC reports. To search these, connect to the DTIC Public Technical Reports Collection.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) produces many technical reports, typically with report numbers starting with "EPA." We have many of these reports in our collection. They are cataloged in the University Libraries' Catalog. You can also search for and access tens of thousands of EPA publications via EPA's National Service Center for Environmental Publications (NSCEP).

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) publishes numerous technical reports. We have a large collection of these reports in both print and microfiche. NRC technical reports generally are shelved with report numbers beginning with "NUREG" or the SuDocs number "Y3.N88:" In addition, the full text of publicly available agency reports from 1999 to the present are available through NRC's web-based Agencywide Documents Access & Management System (ADAMS) Public Documents system.

The US Geological Survey (USGS) distributes a wide variety of technical report literature, including the Open File Reports series. We have many of the Open File Reports in microfiche while increasingly these are available online. Records for USGS publications in both print and fiche are included in the UB Libraries' Catalog. The full text of selected USGS publications is available through the USGS Publications Warehouse. In addition, you can search the USGS Library' catalog online, which includes references to technical reports, through the USGS Library.

The United States Bureau of Mines (BOM) published significant research and statistics on the mining industry, minerals, safety, properties of compounds, and materials science from 1910 to its abolition in 1996. A large number of these reports are filed under the SuDoc number I 28 in both our microfiche and print government documents collections. We also have a printed index to all their publications entitled "List of Bureau of Mines publications and articles ... with subject and author index" (Lockwood Book Collection TN23 .U6).

TRAIL, the technical reports digital collection, has a large holding of online BOM reports.  To access rthese, go to Alternately, any BOM publication can be ordered for a fee from NTIS, which maintains the entire collection of their publications, some 5,000 documents. For additional information about locating and ordering Bureau of Mines Publications, visit the NTIS Bureau of Mines web page.

Technical reports produced by the UB Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research (MCEER) are listed individually in the UB Libraries' Catalog and shelved in the Lockwood Book Collection under the call number TA654.6 .T423. Many of the MCEER reports are now accessible online through UB's Institutional Repository in the MCEER Technical Reports public collection.

RAND is a non-profit research organization that issues many reports regarding public policy issues, including science and technology related issues. Typical RAND report numbers include "P-7929" or "MR-615-RC." The University Libraries include many of these reports in its collections. Most RAND reports are listed in the UB Libraries' Catalog. Search our catalog to determine if we own an individual title. The RAND Publications Database, which provides author, title, and subject access to these reports, is searchable online. RAND reports from 2000 onward are available online as well as some earlier reports.

Additional Resources

SEL owns copies of many of the UB Department of Computer Science & Engineering (CSE) reports in paper. These are listed in the UB Libraries' Catalog with location information. In addition, CSE provides access to the full text of many of its reports online through the CSE website; to access these by year, go to CSE Technical Reports.

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) publishes approximately 3,500 papers each year, presented at at 20 to 30 technical conferences, on all aspects of aerospace engineering and science. We have a large collection of selected AIAA papers, primarily in fiche, spanning the years 1963-1996. The collection is not complete. AIAA papers on microfiche are shelved in fiche cabinets stored in the basement of Lockwood Library by AIAA report number, which takes the form AIAA-[yr]-[report no.].

The Society of Automotive Engineers publishes thousands of technical papers each year related to designing, building, maintaining, and operating land, sea, air, and space vehicles. We have a large collection of SAE technical papers, primarily in print (covering the years 1963-1990, with gaps), a few selected papers on microfiche, and the 1994 papers on CD-ROM. SAE papers are serially cataloged in the UB Libraries' Catalog and shelved under the call number TL240 .S63 (in print in the Lockwood Book Collection).

You can use the Advanced Search feature on the SAE website to search for SAE publications including technical papers.

In 1998, with grant support from the Western New York Library Resources Council (WNYLRC), SEL undertook the development of a Western New York Technical Reports website, which provides general information about technical reports along with a directory of technical reports collections in the area. The site also includes the full text of selected individual reports on topics of local interest including brownfields, zebra mussels, and Love Canal.