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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:

Some examples of numbers are:

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. Documents in the NTIS Technical Reports collection are the results of federally funded research. They are directly submitted to or collected by NTIS from Federal agencies for permanent accessibility to industry, academia and the public.

Before purchasing from NTIS, you may want to check for free access from

The National Technical Information Service is the primary clearinghouse for federal government technical reports. Its National Technical Reports Library (NTRL) database is available free to the public in a limited Quick Search mode (registration required). It provides access to about 800,000 full text reports as well as over two million bibliographic records since 1964. Non-digitized reports must be purchased directly from NTIS and can't be requested via interlibrary loan. Limit of 5 downloads per session.

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)