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Find technical reports (Earth and Environmental Sciences)

Last Updated: 29-Jan-2016

Find technical reports in the Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences.

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Earth Sciences Librarian
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Getting Started

What is a technical report?

Technical reports describe unpublished results of scientific or technical research. 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 (Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency)
  • Privately funded research reports (Hewlett-Packard Labs)

Another type of technical report is an open-file report (OFR) -- an informal releases that allow immediate public access to geologic data.Open-File Reports should not be used as final reports of major scientific investigations.

How do I find a technical report?

Technical reports may be found online in full text, but many are still available only in print or as microfiche, microcards, maps, or bound volumes. They can be hard to track down. Ask a librarian if you have trouble.

Each technical report is identified by an individual number such as an EPA document: EPA/456/R-99/002. That number consists of a series of letters and numbers called the report series code which identifies the:

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


Technical reports online

Where can I find technical reports online?

National Technical Information Service (NTIS) Reports Library is the U.S. Government agency charged with the collecting and disseminating scientific and technical reports from government-sponsored research. The NTIS database contains records of unclassified research materials from 1964 to date. Citations and abstracts from unclassified government-sponsored research reports from the Departments of Defense, Department of Energy, NASA, EPA, and other federal agencies.

USGS OpenFile ReportsThe majority of the USGS Open-file reports are listed in SearchWorks; check by author and title. Others are also available through the Georef database.

OnePetroThe Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) database that provides a broad range of technical literature related to the oil and gas exploration and production industry.

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.

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. This index simultaneously searches over 45 databases and websites of the US government.

TRAIL: Technical Report Archive and Image Library - this is a new digital collection that is still under development. Trail is a collaborative project to digitize, archive, and provide persistent and unrestricted access to federal technical reports issued prior to 1975. The collection currently contains reports from the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, the U.S. Bureau of Mines, and the National Bureau of Standards.

Virtual Technical Reports Center The University of Maryland’s Virtual Technical Reports Center contains links to institution technical reports (full-text or extended abstracts), preprints, reprints, dissertations, theses, and research reports of all kinds.


Technical reports at Stanford

Where can I find technical reports at Stanford?

Most technical reports housed in the library were written under contract to U.S. government agencies.

Type of Report

Shelving Code


USGS Open File

550.6.U58o [YR]-[number]

Branner Main Floor

State Open File

US [state code] [number]

Branner Mezzanine

Canadian Open File

CAN OFR [number]

Branner Mezzanine

Canadian Province OF

CAN [province code] [number]

Branner Mezzanine


Stanford Engineers Reports

3780 [Author's name]

Branner Locked Stack

Stanford Masters Reports

3780 [Author's name]

Branner Locked Stack

Stanford Departmental Reports

[Agency] Report # SU XXXX

Branner Technical Reports

Other Government Agencies (DOE, etc.) Field Reports

[Agency] Report # XXX

Branner Technical Reports

How can I view a microtext/microfiche/microfilm report?

Microformat readers and a reader/printer/scanner are available at Branner Library as well as Green Library.