Frequently Asked Questions

Trail Content

The TRAIL Collections Working Group chooses and prioritizes what series will be added to TRAIL. Any library or other organization may contribute needed content for any active series.

See the Series List to learn which series have been digitized or the status of a series under review for digitization. 


There are several reasons. First, if our series processing inventories indicate that we still need the report, we actively seek the report.  We do not have the staff to check our needed items against what was digitized and made available in HathiTrust by another content provider.  Second, ONLY reports digitized by TRAIL are indexed and searchable by our search interface.  Finally, technical reports that have maps, foldouts, etc. are rarely included in the reports available at HathiTrust.  TRAIL sends these reports to the University of North Texas (UNT), our other TRAIL repository, where the maps, foldouts, etc., are digitized along with the reports.

It’s quite likely that we do.  You may have reports that will fill in the gaps for series we’re working on.  Please compare what you have against the TRAIL Series Inventories.
If you cannot find the series that pertain to your reports, please contact the TRAIL Collections Working Group Coordinator (the Coordinator’s name and email can be found here).   This person leads the group that determines which series TRAIL will consider for digitization.

No, not at present.  The TRAIL Search Interface does not have a "browse" function because a large share of TRAIL content consists of documents for which agency names and series titles have changed frequently over the years.  Creating and maintaining an authority record structure, which would pull together all the variant combinations for each agency/series pairing, would require a significant investment of our resources at this time.

See the list of contributing Institutions on the website of TRAIL Collections Processing Database.

Some digitized reports may not be available due to copyright restrictions. TRAIL content in the HathiTrust is subject to copyright decisions made by HathiTrust. For more information about copyright see the HathiTrust copyright page.

Anyone can download TRAIL documents, page by page. HathiTrust partner institutions can download documents page by page or can download a PDF of the complete document.  The complete document is available for viewing online. For more information see Can I download a whole book? on the HathiTrust Help page.

TRAIL has now digitized more than 57,000+ full text U. S. Government technical reports (an estimated 4,845,000 pages!) and more are being acquired, cataloged, and scanned daily.

Individual print documents that are easily scanned (destructive process) are preferred. TRAIL is currently conducting a microform digitization pilot. TRAIL is also developing guidelines, processes, etc. for digitizing maps. Special formats including maps and other non-standard sized items are deposited at the University of North Texas Digital Library

It is a freely searchable database that provides the details about the series that have been received, inventoried, and processed at the University of Arizona, the central processing site for TRAIL.

TRAIL content is open for indexing by any/all Internet search engines.

Any interested library may purchase sets of provider-neutral catalog records for available collections via OCLC. These OCLC Record Sets enhance access to existing print collections or electronic versions.

Digitized technical reports are located in HathiTrust and in the University of North Texas Digital Library.