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Technical reports (NASA, DOE, etc.)

How to find and obtain technical reports, particularly those held by the Cornell libraries

Technical reports

All microfiche has been moved to the Annex library. To locate microfiche, do a title search in the library catalog (for example, AD-microfom, PB-microform, NACA-microform). A few will link to URLs with full-text. You can request a scanned copy from our document delivery service. Be sure to specify exactly which report you need.

If you have trouble with the system, use the Annex delivery request form.

You can also contact the Engineering Library with questions -, 254-6261.

For certain "lost" technical reports from the 1940s and 1950s, there is a paper published by the University of Nebraska here. Many of these reports are not available from the NTIS or other sources but methods for obtaining them via the Library of Congress can be found within that paper.

Table Guide to Technical Report Holdings

Government Agency, Lab, or Society Agency, Lab, or Society Report Number Prefixes (filed under) Coverage, content Major databases, full text
ASME (American Society for Mechanical Engineers) Example: 96-WA-7
(year-division-paper number)

(division-year-paper number)
1946+ Several possibilities:
Department of Defense (DOD)technical reports, military standards, specifications AD-, ADA-  (Note: AD- and ADA- technical reports often have 7 digits in citations. But only 6 are printed on the reports themselves. Give only the first 6 digits to the Library Annex). 1978+

DTIC Online

NTIS (1945+) - If a report is not available through NTIS, check our catalog to see if we have it.

Department of Energy (DOE) AEC- Atomic Energy Commission BNL- Brookhaven National Lab
DOE - Dept. of Energy
LBL- Lawrence Berkeley Lab
LA-UR - Los Alamos National Lab
ORNL - Oak Ridge National Lab
SAND - Sandia National Lab
UCRL - Lawrence Livermore Lab
1947+ in microcard, paper, fiche1996+ only online

SciTech Connect  - If a report is not available through SciTech Connect, check our catalog to see if we have it.

Pages - Public Access Gateway for Energy and Science - free access to published scientific journal articles or accepted manuscripts within 12 months of publication.

National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA Technical Report Server covers 1917 to present. Common acronyms: 
NACA - National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics
NASA CR - contractor report
NASA TM - technical memorandum
NASA NIX - Image Exchange
NASA STI - Scientific and Technical Information Program
NASA SP - series publication
1917+ NASA Technical Report Server The NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) provides publicly available documents. The NASA Aeronautics and Space Database (NA&SD) is another database and available only for registered users.
National Technical Reports Library (NTRL) Accessible via this catalog record. New users will need to create a Public Account the first time they seek access. One of world's largest repositories of U.S. Government-sponsored research results, the National Technical Reports Library (NTRL Public) offers 2.2 million titles, with links to over 700,000 corresponding digitized full-text technical reports.  
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) PB- ((Note: PB- technical reports often have 7 digits in citations. But only 6 are printed on the reports themselves. Give only the first 6 digits to the Library Annex). 1978+ in microfiche, earlier years in print, check in Library Catalog under EPA followed by first 3 digits of report number, such as EPA 600, EPA 440, etc. NTIS (1945+) - If a report is not available through NTIS, check our catalog to see if we have it.
Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Papers 960664, 2000-01-1003 1908+ We also have other, earlier SAE technical papers in hardcopy or microfiche, as follows:
U.S. Geological Survey Open File Reports USGS OFR 1978+ Georef (1785+)
Many departments, including Commerce, Energy, Interior, Defense, EPA, etc. C- Commerce, E- Energy
I- Interior, D- Defense
EP, EPA - EPA, T-Transportation
Y -Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Some documents arrive with SUDOC numbers only. These are Superintendent Document numbers and found in the Government Monthly Catalog. Monthly Catalog (pre 1976)

GPO Monthly Catalog (1976+)
Others (distributed by the National Technical Information Service) PB- NTIS (1945+) - If a report is not available through NTIS, check our catalog to see if we have it.


Background Information on Technical Reports Technical reports describe current research by universities, agencies, and government labs. Grants usually provide the funding mechanism for such work and are offered on a competitive basis from government agencies, foundations, universities or private industry. The research results are submitted as progress or final reports of the work done by the authors. As a rule, such reports are much more detailed than articles in the peer reviewed journal literature and may be hundreds of pages long. Some are actually part of, or are identical, to Ph.D. theses.
Locating Technical Reports at the Engineering Library 
NTIS: the National Technical Information Service has provided access to government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business related reports. Reports are filed under their report number, such as PB- (from NTIS), N, NASA (from NASA), AD- (from Department of Defence), and USGS (from U.S. Geological Survey). See the chart for a more detailed list.For declassified documents, check 'Declassified Documents Reference System'. Some of our reports back as far as 1942. More complete holdings start in 1978, when Cornell began subscribing as a depository library for NTIS reports. The reference staff can order items not held from NTIS. 

Technical Report Servers at Universities
  • Cornell University Library Technical Report Server is a service that makes available Cornell papers and technical reports from Computer Science, 1968-, Computing and Information Science, 2003-, Theory Center, 1986- , Theory of machines and mechanisms, 2002- , and Library papers and preprints, 2003- . These materials are available for non-commercial use.
  • Networked Computer Science Technical Reference Library (NCSTRL) is a collection of CS technical reports on distributed servers from 157 institutions. Most of the institutions are Ph.D.-granting universities in the field of computer science. Cornell computer science reports dating back more than 30 years are included.
  • - pre-1975 federal technical reports; information at, developed by University of Washington.
  • Unified Computer Science TR Index. This is an automatically created index of technical reports available by anonymous FTP all over the Internet. Coverage is much broader than the CS-TR collection above.
Technical Reports from Government SourcesWhile only some of these sites have the full-text documents, all are excellent for purposes of verification. Transportation Department

Miscellaneous Washington Information Servers