Technical reports usually originate in federal government agencies, but may also come from academic institutions, state or foreign governments, and private firms and organizations. They contain results of research carried out in government labs or on government contracts or, in the case of private companies, for in-house, proprietary use. They are often cited in the literature using obscure report numbering systems or vague and incomplete references, and they can be quite difficult to verify and obtain. In past decades some libraries participated in large microfiche depository programs run by DOE and NTIS, but these were phased out after the 1990s. While thousands of legacy federal agency reports have been digitized in recent years by various parties, many older and non-federal reports that are held in libraries exist only in paper or microform, often with little or no cataloging or inventory. Many more have likely vanished altogether. Consult a librarian for assistance.
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