9 Scientific and Technical Information

Gwen Sinclair

Learning Objectives

  • Become familiar with the types of information and subject matter covered in government technical reports
  • Identify resources and databases to locate government technical and scientific information
  • Understand bibliographic control of government scientific and technical literature and data


You may wonder why governments produce scientific and technical information. Isn’t that the purview of universities and research institutions? The short answer is that governments conduct research and provide funding to research institutions to further the government’s aims. After reviewing what the government has published, it is evident that from the beginning, the role of the U.S. government in scientific and technological research and development has continued to grow.

The earliest government scientific and technical reports in the U.S. were surveys of the waters and natural resources of the U.S. and its territories. The Report of the Expedition of the Squadron of Dragoons to the Rocky Mountains During the Summer of 1835 is typical of the many reports funded by Congress, to which exploring expeditions submitted reports.[1] Annual reports of executive branch agencies also included reports of research, such as the report Omaha Dwellings, Furniture, and Implements published in the Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology for 1891-1892.[2]

As time went by, Congress required that reports be made on the results of scientific investigations funded by the government. For example, the fifth report of the U.S. Entomological Commission contained several articles about injurious insects, which were such a scourge in the 19th century that Congress was motivated to fund research about them.[3]

Most frequently, scientific or technical information is issued in the form of reports of research conducted by agency employees or contractors. These reports may be issued in series such as bulletins, circulars, technical memoranda, technical reports, professional papers, and any number of variants. We refer to these series, which are usually issued on an irregular basis, as monographic series, because each issue in the series is a with a distinctive title. Another category of technical reports are theses and other papers produced by students in the armed services graduate schools. These frequently cover topics in engineering, military history, strategy, or diplomacy. Environmental impact statements, environmental assessments, and other planning documents form another group of government technical reports, which will be discussed below.

Conference proceedings are another form of government scientific or technical literature. For example, the 2009 International Miconia Conference was sponsored by several government agencies including the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Park Service, and the Maui Invasive Species Committee. The proceedings are posted on the conference website but were not issued in book form.[4] Because they were not issued as a publication, the proceedings are also an example of . Open-file reports published by the U.S. Geological Survey are another type of grey literature. The reports cover topics such as stream flows, mineral resources, and mapping.[5]

Many technical reports are —in other words, they are not captured in the usual databases, catalogs, bibliographies, or lists of publications, and they are not part of the depository distribution. In some cases, fugitives may only exist in a regional office of a government agency, or they may have been distributed on a very limited basis at a conference. In such cases, a patron might have to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain a copy of a technical report. Some technical reports are classified, especially those produced by Department of Defense research agencies. Classification is only one explanation for why technical reports may not have been published or disseminated, though. Downey asserted that many technical reports of the past were not published because they were politically unpalatable.[6] This situation continues today, with government reports being suppressed or revised for publication to conform to the administration’s views.

Frequently, patrons find cited references to technical reports in journal articles, Google Books, or databases like PAIS. Scientific or technical publications may be mentioned in press releases, newspaper articles, legal notices, and even the Congressional Record. Of course, patrons may simply ask a reference question that might suggest government scientific information, such as questions about government programs or research, or a question that could be answered by referring to a technical manual. For instance, a historic preservation specialist interested in Quonset huts, a type of building with a curved roof used during World War II, might be interested in the Navy technical manual Builder 3 & 2, which describes the history and construction of Quonset huts and other structures.[7]

In contrast to the 19th century, when scientific and technical information was mostly restricted to annual reports and congressional documents, in the 20th century a number of dissemination streams opened. Agencies listed their technical reports, bulletins, circulars, etc. in bibliographies and lists of publications, and they managed subscriptions and sales of these publications. In some cases, agencies began to produce their own indexing and abstracting publications, such as NASA’s Scientific and Technical Aerospace Reports (STAR). Scientific research done by government employees began to be published not only in agency-issued publications but also in commercially published journals. In turn, the commercially-published indexes began to cover some government documents. Eventually, starting in the 1960s, these printed catalogs and indexes were turned into searchable databases.

General Databases

The most important and useful database for government scientific and technical literature is WorldCat. In the past 10 years, the number of records for government sci-tech reports in WorldCat has exploded due to retrospective cataloging and digitization projects as well as the addition of metadata records for some databases. In WorldCat, you can find records for government documents from a variety of streams, and frequently there are multiple records for the same resource. You can restrict your search to internet resources to find online documents.

It’s important to note that may not exist. State government technical reports are less likely to have analytic records in WorldCat. For example, not all of the issues of Wildlife Education Bulletin, published by the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, have analytic records. If a patron were interested in the title How to Build a Squirrel Den Box, there is an analytic record in WorldCat. However, WorldCat records frequently do not include a SuDoc or local government document classification number. Finding a classification number might require using  the Monthly Catalog of Government Publications or a list of state publications. A Louisiana publication list includes How to Build a Squirrel Den Box and its Louisiana state classification number, CoW 1.2:57. Presumably, CoW stands for Commission on Wildlife, 1.2 is the classification for its bulletins, and 57 is the issue number of this particular bulletin.

The CGP, as we’ve learned, contains all of the GPO-produced records for federal government documents as well as a large number of pre-1976 brief records. The chief advantages of using CGP are that a search is restricted to federal documents, the search capabilities are more robust, there are no duplicate records, all of the records include the SuDoc number, and the records may contain notes that don’t display in WorldCat. However, there may not be records for online versions of documents that you would find in WorldCat.

Technical Report and Image Archive Library (TRAIL) is a project run by several libraries and hosted by the Center for Research Libraries to digitize selected U.S. government technical reports published prior to 1976. It covers technical reports produced by the Army Corps of Engineers, Atomic Energy Commission, Bureau of Mines, Coast Guard, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Geological Survey, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, National Bureau of Standards, National Earthquake Information Center, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Office of Saline Waters.[8] Many of the reports digitized by TRAIL are available in HathiTrust. Note that TRAIL does not include all of the report series produced by these agencies since its focus is on pre-1976 material. In addition, TRAIL must exclude copyrighted material such as translations of foreign technical reports or reports produced by foreign research labs.

The Office of Technical Services (OTS), predecessor to the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), was established in the Department of Commerce in 1946. Its initial purpose was to distribute technical literature accumulated during the second World War, including captured German scientific reports. In 1950, a law directed the Secretary of Commerce to establish a clearinghouse for scientific, technical, and engineering (ST&E) information. OTS managed the clearinghouse until 1964, when the Clearinghouse for Federal Scientific and Technical Information was established. In 1970, it was reorganized and renamed the National Technical Information Service.[9] Many research and special libraries once subscribed to microfiche sets sold by NTIS or they selectively purchased microfiche or printed documents from NTIS. Government technical reports were formerly indexed in a printed index called U.S. Government Research Reports, but fortunately for us, there is now the National Technical Reports Library (NTRL). It contains over three million records from 1964-present, and most of the documents are available as PDFs. There is a free version of the database with a very basic search interface which doesn’t allow fielded searching or date limits. Formerly, users had to pay to download PDFs, but they are now free but limited to ten downloads per day. If a document does not exist in PDF format, a print version may be purchased. The subscription-based version, the NTIS Bibliographic Database, includes advanced search capabilities and unlimited downloads. It is available from several commercial providers in addition to NTIS. Many of the technical reports in the database are also available in other repositories. Initially, there was no mandate for government agencies to submit reports to NTIS, but the American Technology Preeminence Act of 1991 required agencies to deposit information resulting from federally funded research with NTIS. However, there is no enforcement mechanism, so there are still many federally funded reports that do not end up in NTRL.


Cover of U.S. Government Research Reports
Figure 1. U.S. Department of Commerce. Office of Technical Services. (1954-1964). U.S. Government Research Reports. Washington, D.C.: Department of Commerce.

Science.gov is an important metasearch that is similar to USA.gov for scientific and technical publications and other information. It covers over 60 databases from 15 federal agencies. Each has been selected based on inclusion criteria focused on authoritative government scientific information.[10]

Data.gov has already been mentioned as a source for statistics and data. Many of the data sets available in Data.gov are in the scientific and technical arena. One can use facets to narrow a search in Data.gov by geographic region, agency, and file type. So, if you are just interested in , you can limit your search to data with that file extension. While Data.gov is a federal website, it includes data sets from local governments, universities, and non-profit organizations.

Defense, National Security, and Intelligence

All branches of the military operate research laboratories to improve weapons and facilities, examine strategy, and strengthen communications and information technology. The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory consolidated the management of several laboratories spread across the country. It conducts research in areas such as ocean science, acoustics, marine construction, and even space technology. Similarly, the Army Research Laboratory encompasses several formerly independent research laboratories that conduct investigations of human behavior, weapons, vehicles, electronic sensors, and information technology. Continuing the trend toward consolidation of research facilities, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers placed seven research laboratories under the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC). It conducts research and development in the areas of construction, environmental engineering, geospatial technology, cold regions, and geotechnology. Research at the Air Force Research Laboratory encompasses aerospace engineering, space technology, munitions, and information technology. As its name implies, the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory conducts experiments to evaluate technology and tactics.

Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) is an exceptionally rich source for full-text military documents, both current and historical, including many of the non-restricted research reports of the various research laboratories. DTIC began in 1945 as the Air Documents Division. Its purpose was to “collect and catalog World War II scientific and technical documents (including those captured from German and Japan).”[11] Today, it contains millions of documents (some classified) from a variety of sources including environmental impact statements, Government Accountability Office reports, unit histories, dissertations and theses, conference proceedings, and, of course, technical reports, especially from research laboratories of the armed services such as the Waterways Experiment Station of the Corps of Engineers and the Naval Oceanographic Laboratory. DTIC records for technical reports can also be found in WorldCat. Unfortunately, the public search interface for DTIC is very basic, so one cannot do fielded searching or restrict by date.

Another component of DTIC is the military periodical indexes Air University Library Index to Military Periodicals (AULIMP) and Staff College Automated Periodical Index (SCAMPI). There is some overlap between AULIMP and SCAMPI. By using DTIC to search them, one can find articles in a variety of military periodicals going back to the 1940s.

The armed services also operate specialized degree and certificate programs for their members, and the theses and other research papers produced in these programs can often be found in DTIC:

  • Naval Postgraduate School
  • Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences
  • School of Advanced Military Studies
  • U.S. Army Command and General Staff College
  • Air University
  • Defense Acquisitions University

These military-operated schools are not to be confused with schools that operate programs for servicemembers such as American Military University or branches of public universities that operate on military bases like Central Michigan University or University of Oklahoma.

The Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) is maintained by the Naval Postgraduate School. It contains a public collection of over 93,000 documents related to national security policy. Federal depository libraries have access to the full collection of over 166,000 documents. It includes Congressional publications, laws, Nuclear Regulatory Commission documents, and Navy documents. Obviously, some of these documents are available elsewhere, but this database offers a convenient way to search across agencies.

Agriculture & Fisheries

The National Agricultural Library (NAL) produces the Agricola database, which includes both government publications and commercially published journals as well as audiovisual materials and websites. It is especially useful for locating material about local crops and livestock issued by agricultural research stations and extension services. A researcher interested in historical sisal production in Hawaiʻi, for example, would find the publication Sisal and the Utilization of Sisal Waste, published by the Hawaii Agricultural Experiment Station in 1912. Access to Agricola is free through NAL, and it is also available through commercial platforms. The NAL also has a digital collections page that provides access to a vast library of digitized publications. PubAg is NAL’s discovery layer for journal articles and other citations.

The U.S. Forest Service maintains several regional research laboratories. Their research products can be found in the Treesearch database. Treesearch includes not only Forest Service research papers but also references to articles in  scientific journals authored by Forest Service researchers. Despite its name, it also covers topics like road engineering, animals, and snowmelt.

The National Marine Fisheries Service, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), operates several research laboratories, including Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center. Use the resource directories available through NOAA to locate scientific reports and data about fisheries, marine mammals, and other topics related to ocean life.


Cover of Fur seals of the Pribilof Islands
Figure 2. Baker, R. C. (1957). Fur seals of the Pribilof Islands. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.

The Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts database provides indexing and abstracting of research materials related to fisheries, aquaculture, marine environments, oceanography, and many other aquatic topics. It is a partnership between a number of national government fisheries-related agencies and intergovernmental organizations. It is published and distributed on the ProQuest platform under a cooperative agreement between ProQuest and the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

The FAO has a document repository with hundreds of thousands of technical reports about agriculture, forestry, fisheries, nutrition, and other topics, many of which cover very small operations in remote areas. Therefore, it’s an important resource for individuals researching small farms, subsistence farming and fishing, and community management of agricultural resources. Small Animals for Small Farms exemplifies an FAO publication intended to improve rural life in developing countries.[12] Some libraries maintain collections of FAO reports on microfiche, most of which are also available in the online repository.


In the 1940s, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) began to publish large numbers of technical and scientific reports related to nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. These were indexed in Energy Research Abstracts and distributed to AEC depository libraries. Libraries that participated in the AEC depository program accumulated tens of thousands of unclassified reports on nuclear energy in print, microcards (a microformat that preceded microfiche), and microfiche. The TRAIL project, mentioned earlier, is in the process of digitizing AEC reports if they are in the public domain. Many AEC reports, especially translations, contain copyrighted material and are not available online.

The AEC was succeeded by the Department of Energy (DOE). Starting in the 1970s, the DOE issued hundreds of thousands of scientific and technical reports on microfiche. In the 1990s, DOE began to issue them online. Today, OSTI.gov (formerly Sci-Tech Connect) provides access to the contents of two DOE databases: Energy Citations Database, which succeeded the print publication Energy Research Abstracts, and DOE Information Bridge, which was an early e-publishing platform. While the majority of the reports in OSTI.gov are in full text, a substantial number, especially those published prior to 1991, have only citations.[13]

The DOE runs 17 national research laboratories. Originating during World War II, national laboratories are perhaps best known for their role in the development of nuclear weapons. Most of the laboratories are run by government contractors.[14] For example, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is operated by a partnership that consists of  University of California; Bechtel National, Inc.; BWXT Government Group, Inc.; and URS, an AECOM company. While most of the work of LANL is for government agencies, they also have cooperative agreements with a number of corporations such as IBM, General Electric, and Chevron. DOE Data Explorer provides a variety of data files, including geospatial data, maps, numeric data, models, and images created in DOE laboratories.

The Natural Energy Research Laboratory of Hawaiʻi (NELHA) is an example of a local research laboratory that receives funding from DOE and produces scientific and technical reports. Its emphasis is on ocean thermal energy conversion, solar, and biofuels. NELHA’s research reports can be found in OSTI.gov.

At the international level, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) International Nuclear Information System (INIS) contains over three million references to research reports on the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, and it includes reports on other technologies as well.

Transportation, Aeronautics, and Space

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) formerly indexed its technical reports in STAR (Scientific and Technical Aerospace Reports). As NASA began to digitize the reports, it developed the NASA Technical Reports Server. It contains tens of thousands of full-text technical reports and citations about a variety of aerospace and science topics that were produced by NASA and its predecessor, National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.

A few years ago the database was taken offline because NASA discovered that there was sensitive information in some of the reports. The agency had to complete a review of the content before they could make the database public again. A similar situation occurred with the LANL technical reports following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. It seems likely that these situations arose because the agencies took full-text repositories that were formerly only available to on-site researchers and published them on public websites without first vetting the content.

The National Transportation Library is a gateway to two databases: DOT’s Transportation Research Information Services (TRIS) database and the OECD Joint Transport Research Centre’s International Transport Research Documentation (ITRD) Database.

Environment and Natural Resources

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) publishes research on a variety of geology topics such as water resources, volcanoes, earthquakes, mines, and minerals. Its Publications Warehouse is the online index for its research products. It includes official publications such as USGS-authored journal articles, series reports, book chapters, other government publications, and conference proceedings. Like Treesearch, it doesn’t just list government publications, it also includes USGS scientists’ research published in other arenas. The GeoRef database, published by the American Geosciences Institute, contains references to all USGS publications as well as theses and dissertations on geology topics from U.S. and Canadian universities.[15]

The Environmental Protection Agency’s National Center for Environmental Publications contains digitized copies of EPA publications and citations for publications for which the full text is not available. It came into existence when EPA decided to digitize its publications and reduce the number of libraries it operated. Following a public outcry, the EPA only closed a few libraries.[16]

Life Sciences and Medicine

PubMed, familiar to most librarians, is an extremely important database for government-produced biomedical literature. For example, it provides access to Public Health Reports and Emerging Infectious Diseases, two of the many scientific journals issued by agencies within the Department of Health and Human Services.

The Smithsonian has produced a number of technical report series related to life and earth sciences, including Atoll Research Bulletin and Smithsonian contributions to… various subjects such as botany and zoology. All of these publications are now available online in the Smithsonian’s DSpace repository.

Other agencies that produce technical reports covering the life sciences include the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Fisheries Service, Department of Defense, and NASA.

The World Health Organization produces technical reports related to public health and sanitation. If we search its institutional repository, IRIS, for dengue fever, we find that some of the search results are conference papers, a common type of publication issued by intergovernmental organizations. Many of WHO’s scientific and technical publications contain reports of research done worldwide as part of a working group or committee that is concerned with a particular disease or condition.

Standards and Specifications

Another category of technical information, standards and specifications, merits a brief mention. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), part of the Department of Commerce, and formerly called National Bureau of Standards, is the federal government agency that issues standards and specifications for a variety of  systems. On of the most important standards is time, so NIST is the official clock of the U.S., so to speak.

Weights and measures are another set of systems that NIST coordinates. Although the U.S. has never officially adopted the metric system, most foreign countries and scientific applications use it, so NIST tries to get industries to use it so that the U.S. can remain competitive.

Standard reference data (SRD) are, as the name implies, a set of reference standards. Although the U.S. government generally does not claim copyright on its publications, you may be interested to learn that SRD is actually copyrighted.[17] Therefore, SRD is not available for free; you have to purchase the data from NIST. This situation is an example of how Congress’s requirement that the Department of Commerce operate on a cost-recovery basis affects free access to government information.

Another type of specification is military specifications. These are often sought by manufacturers who want to sell to the government. ASSIST is the website used to disseminate defense and federal specifications and standards, military handbooks, and related technical documents. In the specifications for Army boots, there are requirements for the range of sizes, materials, and other specifications. The specifications make reference to drawings that may be consulted, but the drawings themselves are not included in the specification and must be requested from the Army. The specifications also make reference to ASTM standards, which are not government publications, for some of the components.

Environmental Impact Statements, Environmental Assessments, Management Plans

Environmental impact statements, environmental assessments, management plans, and remediation plans are types of environmental planning documents that contain a wealth of useful information about places. For this discussion, I’m going to refer to all of these documents as EISs.

Federal EISs are required for actions that are planned on federal government property. They are announced in the Federal Register and must be prepared according to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). They are typically prepared by contractors on behalf of federal agencies. When first issued in draft form, they are usually deposited with the nearest public library during the public comment period.


Cover of Brothers grazing management program
Figure 3. U.S. Bureau of Land Management, Prineville Unit. (1982). Brothers grazing management program. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.

Some states also have a parallel process for projects that require state permits. For example, in Hawaiʻi, the Office of Environmental Quality Control, part of the state Department of Health, manages the EIS process and maintains an online repository of state EISs. The Hawaiʻi State Library maintains copies of both state and federal Hawaiʻi EISs, but they have been forced to transfer some of them onto microfiche to save space. They usually retain the appendices in print since the appendices have the maps and illustrations that do not lend themselves to microphotography.[18] Sometimes, notices regarding the availability of draft EISs are also published in a local newspaper.

Most federal EISs can be found in the EPA’s EIS database or in Northwestern University Transportation Library’s EIS collection. Let’s examine the draft EIS issued in 2016 concerning Hawaiian spinner dolphins, Enhancing Protections for Hawaiian Spinner Dolphins to Prevent Disturbance. A growing “swim with the dolphins” industry in Hawaiʻi gave rise to concerns that such activities were harmful to the dolphins. The draft lists the statutory authority under which interaction with dolphins may be regulated (Marine Mammal Protection Act) and includes a lot of scientific information about spinner dolphins’ biology, behavior, and habitat. In addition, the draft includes maps and aerial photographs of dolphin habitats and describes the cultural significance of the creatures to Native Hawaiians. The draft lists a number of possible actions that could be taken to reduce impact on the dolphins. It also includes a list of references that would likely be useful for someone who is researching the habitat or behavior of these creatures. The public comments received on the draft are also available. A discussion of the issues, written for the layperson, is also posted on the NMFS website.[19]

Other types of planning and management documents may not be distributed and archived in the same way that EISs are. In that case, they may be fugitive documents, which will be discussed in Chapter 16.

Agency Libraries

Aside from the online libraries and repositories described above, most federal and some state agencies operate physical libraries, such as the EPA libraries mentioned earlier. There are over 1,000 federal libraries in agencies’ headquarters and field offices, military bases, embassies, and federal prisons.[20] Some of the best-known federal libraries include the National Library of Medicine, the National Agricultural Library, and the Department of State Library. Their main purpose is to assist agency researchers, but many of them also assist the general public and other librarians. Their collections contain a mix of the agency’s publications and additional publications that you might find in any special library collection.

Websites and Activities for Children

Federal agencies are required to maintain websites for children. They usually feature videos, activities, games, and lesson plans for teachers. The Government Information for Children Committee of the Government Documents Round Table of the American Library Association maintains a guide to federal agency sites for children. Of course, there are state and local government publications and websites for kids, too. Intergovernmental organizations also produce information for children.


Some examples of sites and activities for kids include:

Government Grants and Research Funding

We’ll conclude with a discussion of the federal government’s grantmaking activity and recent policies that promote access to government-funded research. Beginning in the 1930s, grantmaking was part of the establishing legislation for agencies. As a result of this grantmaking authority, agencies required periodic reports on the progress of grant-funded research. However, there were no requirement about where the research had to be published or deposited. Research results were disseminated through conferences, publications, agency-published reporting journals (e.g., Cancer Chemotherapy Reports) or agency-published indexes to research (e.g., the Public Health Service’s Research Grants Index). While agencies issued publications that announced the awarding of grants and indexed the research, they did not necessarily provide access to the actual research reports.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed a policy, later codified into law, that required NIH-funded researchers to deposit their research in PubMed Central within 12 months of publication and to include a data management plan with their research proposals. You might be surprised to learn how controversial this stance is. The Research Works Act was even introduced to overturn NIH’s policy, but it was eventually abandoned.[21]

Laws to require agencies other than NIH to have similar policies have not fared well in Congress. Three laws, the Federal Research Public Access Act of 2006, Federal Research Public Access Act of 2009 (FRPAA), and Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR) have all failed to make it through Congress. FASTR, the most recent, would have required each federal agency with extramural research expenditures of over $100 million to develop a federal research public access policy, to develop public access policies applicable to agency researchers and agency-funded researchers, and to require each federal agency to submit an annual report on its federal research public access policy to Congress. It also included a 12-month embargo period, during which public access would not be required.[22]

Because of the lack of progress in Congress, and in response to a public petition, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) issued a memorandum directing agencies with over $100 million in R&D expenditures to develop public access policies. The policy requires the agencies to set up interfaces for the retrieval of publicly funded research products.

Several agencies have issued public access plans. The Department of Energy is developing a PAGES portal for research it funds, and it will require researchers to have a data management plan, similar to what the NIH currently requires. The National Science Foundation already requires grantees to submit data management plans. Its public access plan also outlines the development of a repository for the deposit of research after an embargo period. The Department of Defense will use DTIC as its research repository for data. If these plans are carried out, it will greatly facilitate public access to federally funded research. Bear in mind, however, that OSTP’s memorandum only applies to agencies with over $100 million in R&D expenditures, so it doesn’t include smaller agencies (although there is nothing to prevent them from developing their own requirements for grantees).

Librarian’s Library

Council on Environmental Quality. (2007). A citizen’s guide to the NEPA: Having your voice heard. Washington, D.C.: Council on Environmental Quality. https://ceq.doe.gov/docs/get-involved/Citizens_Guide_Dec07.pdf

This guide very thoroughly describes the federal process for compliance with NEPA and explains EIS terminology such as Notice of Intent (NOI) and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).

Library of Congress. (2011). Federal library directory. https://www.loc.gov/flicc/FLD/Federal-Libraries-Directory.pdf

The Library of Congress has compiled the most up-to-date and comprehensive listing of federal libraries. It lists the hours of operation, services, location, and contact information for each facility. Note that some State Department and Bureau of Prisons libraries are not listed.

Nickum, L.S. (2008). Elusive no longer? Increasing accessibility to the federally funded technical report literature. The Reference Librarian 45, 33-51.

Nickum provides an overview of the main agencies that manage online collections of technical reports and describes some of the issues with bibliographic control, awareness, and dissemination of the technical report literature.

O’Hara, F.J. (1979). A guide to publications of the executive branch. Ann Arbor: Pierian Press.

Arranged by agency, this detailed bibliographic guide lists many of the most important scientific and technical publications of the federal government, many of which are still being issued.

Sears, J.L. and Moody, M.K. (2001). Using government information sources: Electronic and print (3rd ed.). Phoenix: Oryx.

Sears and Moody’s classic work provides the best fairly recent overview of the federal government’s scientific and technical literature output.

United States. Atomic Energy Commission. Technical Information Service. (1960). What’s available in the atomic energy literature? https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/4158407-tY7Yub/

This volume explains the variety of material in AEC reports.

  1. U.S. House of Representatives. (1836). Report of the expedition of the squadron of dragoons to the Rocky Mountains during the summer of 1835. 24th Congress, 1st session, H.doc. 18.
  2. Dorsey, J. O. (1896). Omaha dwellings, furniture, and implements. In Thirteenth annual report of the Bureau of Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1891-92. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.
  3. Packard, A. S. (1890). Fifth report of the United States Entomological Commission. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.
  4. Loope, L.L., Meyer, J.Y., Hardesty, B.D. & Smith, C.W. (eds.). (2009). Proceedings of the International Miconia Conference, Keanae, Maui, Hawaii, May 4-7, 2009. Maui Invasive Species Committee and Pacific Cooperative Studies Unit, University of Hawaii at Manoa.
  5. U.S. Geological Survey. Open-file reports. https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/browse/Report/USGS Numbered Series/Open-File Report/
  6. Downey, J. A. (1978). US federal official publications: the international dimension. New York: Pergamon.
  7. Bureau of Naval Personnel. (1951). Builder 3 & 2. NAVPERS 10648-A. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office.
  8. Center for Research Libraries. Technical Report Archive & Image Library. http://www.technicalreports.org/trail/search/
  9. U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight. (2014). A more efficient and effective government: the National Technical Information Service: hearing before the Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, second session, July 23, 2014. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CHRG-113shrg91174/pdf/CHRG-113shrg91174.pdf.
  10. U.S. Office of Scientific and Technical Information. Science.gov. https://www.science.gov/scigov/desktop/en/search.html
  11. Defense Technical Information Center. (1995). Introducing the Defense Technical Information Center. Ft. Belvoir, VA: Defense Technical Information Center.
  12. Wilson, R. T. (2011). Small animals for small farms. FAO Diversification Booklet 14. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. http://www.fao.org/3/a-i2469e.pdf
  13. Byrne, T. (2011). OSTI and the FDLP. https://www.fdlp.gov/all-newsletters/community-insights/1063-osti-and-the-fdlp
  14. U.S. Department of Energy. National laboratories. https://www.energy.gov/national-laboratories
  15. American Geosciences Institute. GeoRef Information Services. https://www.americangeosciences.org/georef/georef-information-services
  16. U.S. Government Accountability Office. (2010). EPA needs to complete a strategy for its library network to meet users' needs. https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-10-947
  17. National Institute of Standards and Technology. Standard reference data public law. https://www.nist.gov/srd/public-law
  18. McNally, Patrick. (2012). Personal communication.
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  22. U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. (2016). Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act of 2015: report of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, to accompany S. 779, to provide for federal agencies to develop public access policies relating to research conducted by employees of that agency or from funds administered by that agency. Washington, D.C.: Government Publishing Office.


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