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Stuff about Geosciences

US Geological Survey (USGS)

Getting Started

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

USGS publications held in the library are cataloged either by series alone or by title and series. Many, but not all, USGS documents in the Geology Library are shelved in chronological and numerical order within a series.  Some series are located in remote storage.

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 it directly in the Library Catalog.

Call Number/Location

Annual Financial Report (AFR) (1879-1932)

QE 76 U54a
Annual Report (AR) -L- QE 75 A62
Annual State Water-Data Report (AWDR/WDR) see Library Catalog
Biological Science Report (BSR) (1995-2003. Discontinued/absorbed.) see Library Catalog

Bulletin (B/BULL)

(Analyzed - Discontinued/absorbed - One of the Primary publications of the USGS.)

QE 75 B9
Circular (C/CIRC) (Analyzed - One of the Primary publications of the USGS. ) QE 75 C5

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.

see Library Catalog

Digital Data Series (DDS)

These CDROMs are located in the Geology Library Software and Media section. Request at circulation desk by call number.

Fact Sheet (FS) QE 75 F33 1994-2006 

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) 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

Published in several formats from 1883 to 1931.

Monographs (M) -L- QE 75 M7 v.1-55

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).

see Library Catalog

Professional Paper (PP/Prof P)

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."

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)

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).

GB 701 W375 Storage
Water-Supply Paper (WSP) TC 801 U2
Yearbook (Y) QE 76 U54a


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.

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