Frequently Asked Questions

General Information

See About TRAIL on the website of the Center for Research Libraries in the Global Resources section.

Use the TRAIL Search Interface, which is maintained by the University of Washington Libraries.

TRAIL began as a Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) project with the Center for Research Libraries to increase access to and preserve government technical reports. TRAIL is now a CRL Global Resources Network Initiative which provides unrestricted access to this unique body of literature via the TRAIL Search Interface.

  • communicates research in technology and science (prior art)
  • contributes to the continued growth of research at institutions and in industry
  • serves specialized audiences of researchers (e.g. aerospace, mining, energy, etc.)

Government documents that have not been digitized or that are not born-digital are vulnerable for a number of reasons:

  • libraries are downsizing print government documents collections due to space issues
  • many government documents are deteriorating or are being moved to remote storage
  • for many of these documents, access exists only through series records in library catalogs, if at all, while TRAIL individually catalogs each document.
  • acquiring content from donor libraries
  • arranging for digitization of the materials, including large fold-outs and other special-handling materials
  • cataloging/creating metadata for each report
  • arranging for storage/preservation of digital files
  • creating and maintaining the user interface that provides access to TRAIL digitized content

To ensure preservation, discoverability, and persistent open access to government technical publications regardless of form or format.