Skip to Main Content

Scientific Technical Reports at Princeton University: Home

This guide will help you identify and find scientific technical reports in the Princeton University Libraries.

What Are Technical Reports?

Technical reports are publications issued to convey results of research usually funded by government or corporate bodies. They are the literature form most familiar to engineers, geologists, and physicists, but are not usually peer-reviewed. They are generally published as numbered series bearing the acronym of the issuing agency, the series code, and an accession number. For more information on the history of technical reports, the Science Reference Services of the Library of Congress has a useful overview here.

Getting Started

This guide will help you identify technical report citations, search for technical reports, and find reports in Princeton University Library's collections. Click on the tabs for detailed instruction and information.

To look for technical reports on a subject, see the appropriate librarian and/or index/database. However, if you are looking for a specific report, first try the Online Catalog. Use the Guided Search form, choosing definitive and uncommon terms, if you don't have the exact title or author. Many reports are listed by author and title, etc. in the Online Catalog, and in PPLCat. Reports and series with Library of Congress call numbers will probably be easier to locate than others. A majority of the reports in the Online Catalog are listed only by series entry points, e.g.: NASA technical reports. These reports are well indexed by the indexing and abstracting services covered later in this guide.

It can be difficult to locate technical reports, so don't delay in seeking help. You can always request copies of technical reports through the Interlibrary Loan Service, if they are not available at Princeton. As always, if you need any help, ask a librarian.

How to recognize a reference to a technical report.

Often times, you can identify a technical report from its citation or reference. Recognizing a technical report will help you determine where to look for the report. In particular, a technical report citation will include a report number and will probably not have journal or publisher information. Below are a few examples of typical references to technical reports that may be found in reference lists of articles and papers:

McMASTER, W. H., et al., Compilation of X-ray Cross Sections, Rep. UCRL 50174, Sec. 11, Rev. 1, University of California, Livermore, California (1969)


Howe, H. C., 1990 "Physics Models in the Toroidal Transport Code PROCTR," Oak Ridge National Laboratory Report ORNL/TM-11521

When searching databases, you may come across records for technical reports. A typical record for a technical report looks like this:

TI: Title
Investigations of vegetation and soils information contained in LANDSAT Thematic Mapper and Multispectral Scanner data [Final Report]
AU: Author
Crist, E P; Laurin, R; Colwell, J E; Kauth, R J
DE: Descriptors
Canopies (vegetation); Reflectance; Soil Moisture; Spectral Signatures; Thematic mappers (LANDSAT); Thematic Mapping; Vegetation; Earth Resources Program; Landsat Satellites; Principal Components analysis


An extension of the TM tasseled cap transformation to reflectance factor data is presented, and the basic concepts underlying the tasseled cap transformations are described. The ration of TM bands 5 and 7, and TM tasseled cap wetness, are both show to offer promise of direct detection of available soil moisture. Some effects of organic matter and other soil characteristics or constituents on TM tasseled cap spectral response are also considered.
CA: Corporate Author
Environmental Research Inst. of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Infrared and Optics Div
RP: Report Number
E85-10082; NASA-CR-171857; NAS 1.26:171857; erim-160300-101-F;
Pagination 117P