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Technical Reports

What are Technical Reports?

Technical reports describe the progress or results of scientific or technical research and development. These may include national or international reports by university departments, institutes, private industry or government agencies and laboratories.

Issuing (funding) agencies may or may not make reports publicly available and some charge for copies of their reports. Publication and dissemination of technical reports has never been centrally coordinated; therefore, they can be particularly difficult to identify and locate.

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, however technical report number systems usually include the following elements:

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

Some examples of numbers are:

  • NASA-TM-111279
  • EPA/456/R-99/002
  • SAE 2001-1096

NOTE: Contact the Engineering Library if you need information about finding and obtaining technical reports.   

Additional information can be found on the following pages:

National Technical Information Service - NTIS - The primary clearinghouse for government technical reports, NTIS is the place to search and order reports. The free web database indexes reports since 1990. Consult a librarian about searching NTIS databases for older reports, since this is not free. Generally, these reports must be purchased directly from NTIS and can't be requested via interlibrary loan.

Databases and Library Collection




Agency/Society UT Online Print
NASA NASA Technical Reports Server NACA and NASA
SAE - Society of Automotive Engineers SAE Digital Library 1906-present Transactions and Microfilm
Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA Technical Reports Server Jet Propulsion Laboratory
SPE - The Society of Petroleum Engineers OnePetro Varies - search the catalog

Government Web sites

Additional Web sites

Technical Reports published by the University of Texas at Austin (selective listing)