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Process Control Engineering: Web Resources / Government & Technical Reports

What are Technical Reports?

Technical reports are publications published to convey results of research usually funded by government or corporate bodies. When the government performs or sponsors research, they may require that a report of the research be published as a way to maintain public disclosure. Technical reports usually are not peer-reviewed. They are often published as numbered series bearing the acronym of the issuing agency, a series code, and an accession number. For more information on the history of technical reports, the Science Reference Services of the Library of Congress has a useful overview here.

Recognizing Technical Reports:

Recognizing that a citation is for a technical report (versus a journal or trade article, for example) will help you determine where to look for the report. A publication usually can be identified as being a technical report from the elements in its citation or reference. In particular, a technical report citation will often include a report number and will not include journal information (e.g., journal title, volume number, issue number).

Technical reports can be divided into three general categories:

1. Non-Governmental Reports - These may be published by engineering societies, such as AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautical and Astronautics), IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers), or SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers).

2. Governmental Reports - The research conducted in these reports has been wholly or partly sponsored by the United States or an international government body. All agencies of the U.S. federal and state governments issue reports. For example: DOE (Dept. of Energy), NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), DOT (Dept. of Transportation), and DOD (Department of Defense).

3. Computer Science Technical Reports - These are mostly published by computer science and engineering departments at various universities. Many of these are freely available online.

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