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Value of Technical Report Literature

Technical reports communicate research progress in technology and science; they deliver information for technical development to industry and research institutions contributing to the continued growth of science and technology. These highly detailed reports contain valuable information serving specialized audiences of researchers.

"TRAIL is a wonderful digital library."

"Thank you so much for your help.  The 25 year old copy of the monograph that I have was destroyed by water; finding it online makes me very happy!  Please pass on my great appreciation to all those who have put together this very valuable service."

Value of TRAIL

While access to more recent (1994–current) technical report literature has greatly improved with Internet access, older technical reports remain elusive to researchers.  These reports are available, as most large research libraries across the country have sizeable collections of federally funded technical research reports—frequently a million or more--ranging from several pages to several hundred pages. However, they are elusive in the fact that they are not discoverable, having in most cases never been cataloged or systematically indexed.

In response to a call by the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) in early 2006 for proposals to address four new GWLA strategic directions, the University of Arizona submitted a proposal to develop a collaborative project with CRL to identify, digitize, and provide open access to federal technical reports. GWLA accepted the proposal as one of four strategic initiatives and the developed project became the Technical Report Archive & Image Library (TRAIL). GWLA members provided support in the early years of the TRAIL project. TRAIL is now a CRL Global Resources Network Initiative.

TRAIL identifies, acquires, catalogs, and digitizes technical reports issued primarily prior to 1976. TRAIL provides unrestricted access to these digitized technical reports through the TRAIL Search Interface.

"I can't begin to express the gratitude and research potential your site has provided to us.  Thanks to TRAIL, I am able to find and download Bureau of Mines Bulletins pertaining to my area that the Bureau of Mines and Office of Surface Mining in PA don't even have in their libraries.  Your site has made my research efforts a lot easier, saving weeks of time and travel expense."

Our Mission

The mission of TRAIL is to ensure preservation, discoverability, and persistent open access to government technical publications regardless of form or format.

See also the CRL resources below related to Science and technology: