Technical Report Archive and Image Library (TRAIL)

"The Technical Report Archive and Image Library (TRAIL) project was established by the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) to digitize and preserve federal technical reports, particularly those produced before 1976. We define federal technical reports as material that is primarily of a scientific or technical nature issued by agencies of the federal government. The digitized reports will be freely available in a searchable electronic archive. It is our belief that unfettered access to this material will facilitate scientific progress. For more information, visit:"

Mike Culbertson 
Engineering Librarian
Colorado State University Libraries
(Email received through American Libraries Assoc., Sci-Tech Section)

P.S.  What reports should be digitized?  Reply to :

Technical Report & Image Library – TRAIL

I just learned of this database of technical reports housed at Manoa, Univ. of Hawaii, via the Chemical Information Listserv — from the Univ. of Arkansas’ Engineering and Math Librarian.

"TRAIL-Technical Report Archive and Image Library: a collaborative project to digitize, archive, and provide persistent and unrestricted access to federal technical reports issued prior to 1975."

Actually, they have reports from much later than 1975.  Browsing is available, as well as detailed search functionality.


  • Total reports in database: 1052
  • Total fulltexts in database: 330
  • Total images in database: 946

Organizations Involved:
The Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA – and the Center for Research Libraries (CRL – are collaborating on a pilot project.

These are picked up by Google, not (necessarily?)  Google Scholar, and not by Scirus. Scopus and  U.S. Government databases will pick up (index) the reports, but probably won’t link to the full texts.

NTIS offers RSS feeds by subject categories

Currently the National Technical Information Service Bibliographic Database includes records on over 2.8 million scientific and technical reports arranged by major subject categories. The NTIS  has now made available RSS Feeds by Subject Category: Follow the RSS Feeds link at to get started. Energy is one of the categories, for example.

“NTIS values its recognition by the technical information community, libraries, and participating Federal Government agencies as the leader in providing must-have U.S. Government technical content. To this end, NTIS will always strive to acquire, index, abstract, and archive the largest collection of Government-sponsored technical reports in existence.”

The October 2008 issue of the NTIS Technical Reports Newsletter is now available online from  To subscribe to the free Newsletter, just send an email with your name and email address to

Source, the October NTIS Technical Reports Newsletter now provides 200 million pages is a free, integrated single-search gateway to reliable science and technology information from 17 organizations within 13 federal science agencies. In this new 5.0 version,  launched on Sept. 15th, there are 7 additional portals or databases that quadruple its content.  New content includes patents, toxicology data, e-prints from the Dept. of Energy and OSTI, and journal archives from PubMed Central, and

The search engine is improved with clustering technology, and now provides links to science news, the EurekAlert! and Wikipedia. 

" is hosted by DOE’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), within DOE’s Office of Science. In addition to DOE, is supported by contributing members of the Alliance, including the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, and the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Government Printing Office, the Library of Congress, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation, with support from the National Archives and Records Administration."

From Tim Byrne at osti/gov