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About Technical Reports

"Technical reports are documents that generally contain results of research and development supported by government grants or contracts.  There are also private and corporate sponsored research reports.  Although they are not usually formally refereed, they are an important form of scientific and technical information and communication.  They made their first impact during WWII; since then their production has increased tremendously.  The National Technical Information Service (NTIS) currently adds over 71,000 technical reports to the database every year.  Technical reports are often written as a requirement of a contract, they are a permanent record of publicly supported research, and they are an efficient means of disseminating information back to scientists and engineers and to the general public.  In early years, reports were published and disseminated largely in paper format.  In the 1960's and 70's it became common for reports to be disseminated in microfiche, and now, it is becoming common for technical reports to be disseminated in electronic form."

- Subramanyam, Krishna.  Scienctific and Technical Information Resources.
  SEL/EMS Reference Stacks T 10.7 S93 1981

Finding & Locating Reports

Finding Technical Reports is not always easy. 

Technical reports are most often used to report research and are of interest to the tracing of technical information over time.  The reports usually are issued by government agencies, universities, or corporate entities.  They may be published by noncommercial publishers and are usually part of a numbered series.  They are usually located in a library catalog by series title or individual report title or a combination of both and not always by author.  They are in different formats ranging from print, microform and increasingly online.

Technical Report Literature at UCI, however important does not have a large physical presence. Users may need to request Technical Reports from other libraries and use InterLibrary Loan or commercial document delivery options.  Knowing the issuing agency is the best way to determine where a technical report is.  Checking MELVYL or Next Generation Melvyl may be the best starting place and searching by series for many, and individual report titles for some may retrieve the needed item.  Unfortunately, some microfiche reports in the UC collection are simply not listed local campus holdings and thus not in MELVYL.  The reports may be located at some Science & Engineering Libraries or where Government Information is located.

It may depend on the subject coverage, whether it is issued by the US Federal Government or a commercial publisher, research enterprise or academic institution or department.  This finding guide will hopefully direct you to the most appropriate database and cover different approaches including options for commercial document supply.  Specific subject content is noted under Subject Coverage.

Evaluating Information

When using Online or Internet Resources, consider Search Engines vs. metasites - evaluate resource - consider domain - .edu, .com, .gov, .org, etc.

Thinking Critically about World Wide Web Resources - or Evaluation Techniques for Internet Resources

  1. Authority control - authorship - who, affiliation, where
  2. Currency - note the date, the update, does it reflect the right period of time
  3. Evaluate the source - establish criteria that is meaningful to covering the topic
  4. Citing Internet resources - URL & date of the search
  5. Capturing and citing
  6. Copying

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Julia Gelfand
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