Technical Literature and Reports

The State Library has many publications on the applied sciences and technology. Some of the types and forms of this literature are:

  • treatises, texts, reviews and histories
  • journals, trade publications newsletters, and annual reports
  • published proceedings of conferences and symposia
  • all U.S. patents and resources for doing patent searches
  • specifications, standards, codes, and related literature
  • encyclopedias, dictionaries, handbooks and manuals
  • information on computers, data processing, office automation and telecommunications
  • U.S. Government Printing Office depository and non-depository publications
  • publications of other states and countries
  • biographical reference works

Technical Reports

Technical reports describe research, development, and engineering advances related to technology. Unlike technical articles found in journals, they are not subject to a refereeing process before publication.

National Technical Information Service (NTIS) Publications: The largest collection of technical reports at the State Library comes from NTIS, which is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. It includes reports on the results of U.S. and foreign government-sponsored research and development activities. The Department of Energy, the Department of Defense and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are among the major Federal agencies producing the reports, and numerous other U.S. agencies, universities and other centers of research are represented. Most major foreign governments are now contributing technical reports to this vast database. (The collection excludes foreign language reports except for energy reports which were acquired from 1988 to the present.)

NTIS now indexes and makes available more than 66,000 publications annually, most of them technical reports. (The non-report literature consists chiefly of data files on disks or tapes, and software programs.) Not all of the information is technical; the social sciences are also represented.

Government Documents : As a regional depository for the U.S. Government Printing Office, the Library receives many technical reports produced by Federal agencies. In addition, the Library is also a depository for NASA publications and for the U.S. Department of Energy (and its predecessor, the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission) . Other states, and other countries, such as Canada, regularly provide technical reports to the Library as well.

The Declassified Documents Reference System provides thousands of documents from the Central Intelligence Agency, Departments of State and Defense, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Presidential Libraries and National Archives, many containing technical information.

Other Report Collections:

  • A retrospective collection of the General Electric Company's Class 1 CRD (Corporate Research and Development) Reports
  • Reports of the Society of Mechanical Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers

Searching the Catalogs for Technical Information

The State Library's on-line and microfiche catalogs provide access to most technical publications by author, title, or subject. The items in some collections, such as technical reports, patents, specifications, and standards are not individually cataloged. Ask a librarian about access to these publications.

The Reference Collection

Although much of the technical literature is housed on non-public floors, an extensive collection of reference works in technology is readily available on the public floor in Dewey classifications 600-609 for general technical works and 620-699 for works arranged by subject discipline. (Classes 610-619 are for medicine. Medical technology is coded 610.28.)

Indexes to the Literature

The Library's Reference collection contains many abstracting and indexing publications providing excellent access to technical information published as periodical articles, technical reports, State and Federal government documents, and other forms of the literature. A finding aid to these indexes, the Selected List of Abstracts and Indexes in Science and Technology, is available at the Reference Desk.

Several indexes to technical literature on compact disk (CD-ROM) may be searched by users at the Electronic Reference Station. Examples are an index to publications of the National Technical Information Service, the Classified Search and Support Information System (CASSIS) database for U.S. patent information, and an index to recent U.S. Government Printing Office publications, which include much technical information.

Computerized Searches Available

On-line searches of all major technical databases are available.

Last Updated: December 3, 2013