Skip to Main Content

Technical Reports

A guide to technical reports: what they are, where they come from, how to find them

Technical Reports and Gray Literatue

Technical reports are publications written to present the results of research or projects performed under contract with a government agency or a corporate body. Technical reports most commonly encountered by students are from agencies such as NASA or the Department of Energy.

For more information and some history, the Science Reference Services of the Library of Congress has a useful overview of technical reports:  About Technical Reports and Standards.

Technical reports are sometimes described as "gray (or grey) literature." Gray literature is a term used to describe publications that fall outside the mainstream publication areas such as journals and books.

Examples of gray literature are reports, white papers, preprints, reprints, leaflets, pamphlets, manuals, etc. Descriptions of gray literature sometimes include other publications such as patents, conference proceedings, theses and dissertations.

It can be challenging to locate reports and other gray literature. The resources listed in this guide will help you find technical reports. Don't hesitate to ask a librarian if you can't find the report or document you need.

More about gray literature: