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United States Geological Survey (USGS) Publication Guide

Getting Started

The Walter Geology Library, including the Tobin Map Collection, is the place to find United States Geological Survey (USGS) publications at University of Texas at Austin, with the exception of certain items such as topographic maps outside of Texas.

The goal of this USGS Collection Guide is to help patrons find a citation of a USGS publication, search the library catalog, and then locate the item on the library shelves. The guide is geared towards print materials, although many current USGS documents are available free online.

USGS publications are cataloged by either series or title. Many, but not all, USGS documents in the Geology Library are shelved in chronological and numerical order within a series.
 

Ordering USGS Publications

There is a Texas Water Science Center (USGS) in Austin, or you may visit the USGS Online Store.

 

Contents

The table below may help you understand what is included in a USGS citation.

Item

Example

Authors Robert Thomas Hill and Thomas Wayland Vaughan
Title The Lower Cretaceous Gryphaeas of the Texas Region
Place of Publication: Publisher, Date of Publication. Washington: Govt. Print. Off, 1898.
Series and Volume U.S. Geological Survey Bulletin No.151
Series, Series Abbreviation, and Number U.S. Geological Survey Geophysical investigations ; map GP-417
Call Number

QE 75 B9 NO.151

or

MAP USGS GP-417

 

Once you have a USGS citation, use the tables below to help you search for the document in our library catalog and find the document on the shelf. You may find more information under Series Descriptions or the USGS Publications Warehouse. You may request items housed at the Library Storage Facility be sent to a campus library location.

Search by:
Documents are shelved:
Title or author  By subject area. Each document has a different call number from other volumes in the same series. These are NOT grouped together by series.
Series By series. They are shelved in chronological and numerical order. These are NOT searchable by title or author. The call number is listed in the table below.
Title, author, or series By series. They are shelved in chronological and numerical order. These documents can also be searched by title and author as well as by series. The call number is listed in the table below.
Series/Abbreviation
Call Number/Location
Annual Financial Report (AFR) QE 76 U54a
Annual Report (AR) -L- QE 75 A62
Annual State Water-Data Report (AWDR/WDR) see Library Catalog
Biological Science Report (BSR) see Library Catalog
Bulletin (B/BULL) QE 75 B9
Circular (C/CIRC) QE 75 C5
Data Series (DS) see Library Catalog
Digital Data Series (DDS) CDROM 40 DDS
Fact Sheet (FS) QE 75 F33 1994-2006 
Folios of the Geologic Atlas (GF) Library Storage Facility
General Interest Publication (GIP) see Library Catalog
Information and Technology Report (ITR) see Library Catalog
Journal of Research -Q- QE 1 U5585 V.1 1973- V.6 1978
Mineral Resources Library Storage Facility
Monographs (M) -L- QE 75 M7 v.1-55
Open-File Report (OFR/OF) see Library Catalog
Professional Paper (PP/Prof P) QE 75 P9
Scientific Investigations Report (SIR) GB 701 W376
Trace Elements Investigations (TEI) see Library Catalog
Trace Elements Memorandum (TEM) see Library Catalog
Techniques and Methods (TM) see Library Catalog
Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations (TWRI) TC 177 U57a
Water-Resources Investigations Report (WRIR/WRI) GB 701 W375
Water-Supply Paper (WSP) TC 801 U2
Yearbook (Y) QE 76 U54a

 

Use the following databases and bibliographies to find a citation that includes series, title, author, publication date, and volume. Once you have a citation, you can search the library catalog. Our online resources, such as GeoRef, do not always interact directly with our Library Catalog.

Series resulting from changes designed to accommodate a broader range of research topics in biology, geology, geography, and hydrology include the following:

  • Circular (C or CIRC)
  • Data Series (DS)
  • Fact Sheet (FS)
  • General Information Product
  • Professional Paper (PP or Prof P)
  • Open-File Report (OFR)
  • Scientific Investigations Map I (SIM- maps)
  • Scientific Investigations Report (SIR)
  • Techniques and Methods (TM)

Some of the titles that have been discontinued and absorbed into the revised series:

  • Biological Science Report (BSR)
  • Bulletin (B or BULL)
  • Digital Data Series (DDS)
  • Geologic Investigations Series (I-maps)
  • Hydrologic Investigations Atlas (HA-maps)
  • Information and Technology Report (ITR)
  • Miscellaneous Field Studies Map (MF-maps)
  • Techniques of Water Resources Investigations (TWRI)
  • Water Resources Investigations (WRI)

The modern USGS began publishing in 1878. Prior to that, several Geologic and Geographic Surveys were commissioned by Congress. If you need more information about these earlier publications, please ask the library staff for help.

Annual Report (AR):
"Reports issued by the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior." 1879-1932.

Annual Report or Annual Financial Report (AFR) or Activities or Yearbook (Y):
QE 76 U54a Geology

Annual State Water-Data Report (AWDR/WDR):
"Annual reports that document hydrologic data gathered from the U.S. Geological Survey's and cooperating agencies' surface- and ground-water data-collection networks in each State, Puerto Rico, and the Trust Territories. Records of streamflow, ground-water levels, and water quality."

Antarctic Geologic Map (A):
MAP USGS A [number]

Description not provided.

Biological Science Report (BSR):
1995-2003. Discontinued/absorbed. "Scientific interpretations, findings, data, and theoretical analyses relevant to Biological Resources Discipline (BRD) investigations and research. Reports published by the National Biological Survey and later by the U.S. Geological Survey. 1995-2003."

Bulletin (B or Bull):
QE 75 B9 Geology
Analyzed - Discontinued/absorbed - One of the Primary publications of the USGS. "Significant data and interpretations of lasting scientific interest but generally narrower in scope than professional papers. Results of resource studies, geologic or topographic studies, and collections of short papers on related topics."

Circular (CIRC or C):
QE 75 C5 Geology
Analyzed - One of the Primary publications of the USGS. "Synthesis of understanding about processes, geographic areas, issues, or USGS programs. Aimed at enhancing knowledge and understanding among general audiences, decision makers, university students, and scientists in related fields."

Circum-Pacific Map (CP):
MAP USGS CP [number]
"Multicolor equal-area maps at scales of 1:10,000,000 for the Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast quadrants of the Pacific and the Arctic and Antarctic regions, and of 1:17,000,000 for the whole Pacific Basin. The series consists of base, geographic, geodynamic, plate-tectonic, geologic, tectonic, mineral-resources, and energy-resources maps, as well as other miscellaneous maps."

Taken over from AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists), publisher of maps 1-34 in this series.

Coal Investigations (COAL or C):
MAP USGS C [number]

"Origin, character, and resource potential of coal deposits shown by geologic maps, structure contours, cross sections, columnar sections, and measured coal sections, where appropriate. Text on same sheet or in an accompanying pamphlet."

Data Series (DS):
These CDROMs are located in the Geology Library Software and Media section. Request at circulation desk by call number. Some also available as Electronic Resources.

"Basic data sets, databases, and multimedia or motion graphics. Used for videos, computer programs, and collections of digital photographs."

"Administrative notes, Feb. 15, 2004 (Incorporates: Information and technology report; U.S. Geological Survey digital data series; continues numbering of U.S. Geological Survey digital data series, without the DDS prefix)."

Digital Data Series (DDS):
These CDROMs are located in the Geology Library Software and Media section. Request at circulation desk by call number.

Discontinued/absorbed. "Digital data distributed through the medium of Compact Disc-Read Only Memory [CD-ROM] technology. Replaced by Data Series (DS) in 2004."

Fact Sheet (FS):
QE 75 F33 1994-2006 INCOMPLETE Geology
"USGS science, programs, projects, and data and how they address issues of public interest."

Folios of the Geologic Atlas (GF):
Published in the years prior to World War I. "Quadrangles named from a city, town, or prominent natural feature within the area covered. They include maps showing the topography, geology, underground structure and mineral deposits of the area and several pages of descriptive text and illustrations. May include maps of oil and gas and artesian water. Precursor to Geologic Quadrangles."

General Interest Publication (GIP):
"USGS programs, projects, and services and general scientific information of public interest. Variety of media, including pamphlets, postcards, posters, videos, teacher kits, CD/DVDs, bookmarks, and interactive and motion graphics. Previously called 'General Interest Publications.'"

Geologic Quadrangle (GQ):
MAP USGS GQ [number] 
"Detailed geologic maps depicting areas of special importance to the solution of geologic problems. May portray bedrock or surficial units, or both. May include brief texts, structure sections, and columnar sections. 71/2- or 15-minute quadrangles printed in multicolor on topographic bases that meet National Map Accuracy standards."

Geophysical Investigations (GP):
MAP USGS GP [number]
Discontinued/absorbed. "Chiefly the results of aeromagnetic and (or) gravity surveys shown by contours. Area depicted may range in size from a few square miles to an entire country. Single or multiple sheets."

Hydrologic Investigations Atlas (HA):
MAP USGS HA [number]
Discontinued/absorbed. "Hydrologic and hydrogeologic data of regional and national interest, such as streamflow, ground water, water quality, and extent of flooding. Various scales. Single or multiple sheets."

Hydrologic Unit Maps (HUM):
MAP USGS HUM [number]

"Part of the National Atlas of the United States of America series." For an explanation of hydrologic unit designations see: Hydrologic Unit Maps.

Information and Technology Report (ITR):
1995- 2003. Discontinued/absorbed. "Reference material or results of technical, but not necessarily scientific, investigations. Handbooks and manuals, data compilations such as critical tables and bibliographies; professional seminar, conference, or workshop presentations; book-length monographs; synthesis documents; and compilations of conference and workshop papers. Reports published in the National Biological Survey and later in the U.S. Geological Survey, Information and Technology report series. 1995-2003."

"Administrative notes, Feb. 15, 2004 (Information and technology report merged in part with: U.S. Geological Survey digital data series to form: Data series; also merged in part with: Biological science report, U.S. Geological Survey bulletin, and Water resources investigations report to form: Scientific investigations report; also merged in part with: Techniques of water-resources investigations of the United States Geological Survey and Topographic instructions to form: Techniques and methods)."

Journal of Research of the U.S. Geological Survey:
QE 1 U5585 V.1 1973- V.6 1978 Geology
"Scientific notes and summaries of investigations in geology, hydrology, and related fields." Supersedes chapters B, C, and D of United States. Geological Survey research.

Land Use and Land Cover (L):
MAP USGS L [number]
"Various categories of land use and cover, both artificial and natural, for use by geographers, land-use planners, and others. Planimetric maps at scales of 1:250,000 or 1:100,000 on a single sheet.

Mineral Investigations Resource (MR):
MAP USGS MR [number]
"Mineral occurrences, mineral resources, mines and prospects, commodities, and target areas of possible resources other than coal, petroleum, or natural gas. Small scale (1:250,000 or smaller)."

Mineral Resources of the United States:
* Library Storage Facility * 557.3 UN3MI 1882-1931

Published in several formats from 1883 to 1931.

Miscellaneous Field Studies (MF):
MAP USGS MF [number]
"Rapidly prepared, low-budget maps in a broad range of presentations in terms of portrayal, completeness, interpretations, draftsmanship, scale, and area coverage. Single or multiple sheets."

Miscellaneous Investigations/ Geologic Investigations (I) Series
"High-quality maps and charts of varied subject matter such as bathymetry, geology, hydrogeology, landforms, land-use classification, vegetation, and others including maps of planets, the Moon, and other satellites. Various scales. Topographic or planimetric bases; regular or irregular areas. May include a text printed as an accompanying pamphlet."

Missouri Basin Study (MB):
Inactive. "These maps are the result of geologic mapping and mineral-resource investigations conducted by the Geological Survey as part of the program of the Department of the Interior for study and development of the Missouri River Basin (Series definition from Publications of the Geological Survey 1879-1961)."

Monographs (M):
QE 75 M7 v.1-55 Geology
Description not provided.

Oil and Gas Investigations (OC) Chart:
MAP USGS OC [number]

"Known or possible petroleum resources, presented as logs, correlation diagrams, graphs, and tables, but ordinarily not as maps. Single or multiple sheets. Text printed on same sheet or in an accompanying pamphlet."

Oil and Gas Investigations (OM):
MAP USGS [series] [number]
"Apply particularly to areas of known or possible petroleum resources. Typically include cross sections, columnar sections, structure contours, correlation diagrams, and information on wells drilled for oil and gas. Single or multiple sheets. Text usually on map sheet but sometimes printed as an accompanying pamphlet."

Open-File Report (OFR/OF):
Current reports analyzed and cataloged; older reports in microfiche cabinets.

"Interpretive information that needs to be released immediately; maps and reports (and their supporting data) that need to be released as supporting documentation because they are referenced, discussed, or interpreted in another information product; preliminary findings (pending a final map or report); interim computer programs and user guides; bibliographies."

Prior to 1981, these Open-file Reports were not in general distribution. The Walter Geology Library has some pre-1981 Open-file Reports, and should have most published since that date. Almost all Open-File Reports are on microfiche in the microfiche cabinets. These items have no Library Catalog entries or other indexing or cataloging. The Geology Library has film/fiche readers, but no printer. However, microfiche and microfilm may be checked out for copying. Microfiche and microfilm printers are available in the Engineering Library, Perry-Castañeda Library, and Life Sciences Library.

Some Open File Reports are now available in paper copy, especially those from the USGS Austin office, as well as some donated items. These are cataloged in the Library Catalog under the series title U.S. Geological Survey open-file report. Numbering includes the year and an inventory designator (eg: 84-4042).

Professional Paper (PP or Prof P):
QE 75 P9 Geology

Analyzed - One of Primary publications of the USGS. "Premier series of the USGS. Comprehensive reports of wide and lasting interest and scientific importance, characterized by thoroughness of study and breadth of scientific or geographic coverage. The series may include collections of related papers addressing different aspects of a single scientific topic, either issued together under one cover or separately as chapters."

Scientific Investigations Map I(SIM):
MAP USGS I(SIM) [number]

"Maps, charts, stratigraphic sections, or other large illustrations. Descriptive information, photographs, or other illustrations. Collections of related maps addressing different aspects of a single geographic area or scientific topic, issued separately, or as an atlas, issued collectively in book format."

Scientific Investigations Report (SIR):
GB 701 W376 Geology

Analyzed. "Significant data and interpretations of lasting scientific interest but generally narrower in scope than Professional Papers. Includes collections of related papers addressing different aspects of a single scientific topic, either issued as individual chapters or as a single volume; proceedings and abstracts for USGS-sponsored meetings; some field trip guidebooks and road logs; and general manuals."

Techniques and Methods (TM):
"Procedures for the collection, analysis, or interpretation of scientific data. Includes selected computer programs, including manuals and documentation that represent major models, methodology, or techniques."

Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations (TWRI):
TC 177 U57a [book number, chapter number] Geology
Analyzed -Discontinued/absorbed.
"Approved procedures for planning and executing field and laboratory studies, including collecting, analyzing, and processing hydrologic data."

Topographic:
Topographic maps of Texas are located in the map cases in the Southeast corner of the library. (Map of the Library.) Topographic maps are shelved alphabetically by series or quadrangle name.

Perry-Castañeda Map Collection houses topographic maps of the United States, including Texas, and of foreign countries. Digitized versions can be found at: United States Togographic Maps 1:250,000.

Trace Elements Investigations (TEI):
Description not provided.

Trace Elements Memorandum (TEM):
Description not provided.

Water-Resources Investigations Report (WRIR or WRI):
GB 701 W375 Geology

Discontinued/absorbed. "Hydrologic information, mainly of local interest, intended for quick release. Book or map format. Varied scales."

They began to be widely distributed in the early 1980's, but not every WRI report is available at the Geology Library. A few are on microfiche.

Numbering begins with the year, followed by an inventory number (eg: 84-4035).

Water-Supply Paper (WSP):
TC 801 U2 Geology

"Hydrology, including quality, recoverability, and use of water resources; statistical reports on streamflow, floods, groundwater levels, and water quality; and collections of short papers on related topics."

Search for maps in the library catalog by title, author, or series. Descriptions of the map series are listed in this guide under Series Descriptions and in the USGS Publications Warehouse.

Topographic Maps

Topographic maps of Texas are located in the map cases in the Southeast corner of the library. Topographic maps are shelved alphabetically by series or quadrangle name. The Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection houses topographic maps of the United States (including Texas) and foreign countries. Digitized versions can be found in United States 1:250,000.

USGS Maps

USGS Maps are shelved by series in the green, vertical cabinets. Call numbers follow this form: MAP USGS [series abbreviation] [number]

Series

Abbreviation

Antarctic Geologic Map A
Circum-Pacific Map CP
Coal Investigations Map COAL or C
Folios of the Geologic Atlas GF
Geological Quadrangle Map GQ
Geophysical Investigations GP
Hydrologic Investigations Atlas HA
Hydrologic Unit Maps HUM
Land Use and Land Cover Map L
Mineral Investigations Resource Map MR
Miscellaneous Field Studies Map MF
Missouri Basin Study MB
Oil and Gas Investigations Charts OC
Oil and Gas Investigations Map OM
Scientific Investigations Map I (SIM)
Topographic None

 

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