Tuesday, February 17, 2009

National Technical Information Service (NTIS)

It has been a while since we talked in-depth about a government agency and so today I thought I would talk about the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). NTIS is a bit different then many government agencies in that it is allowed to charge for its services, in fact it the American Technology Preeminance Act of 1992 "required all costs associated with bibliographic control to be recovered by fees." To learn more about the development of this agency, check out the About NTIS page.

So what to do they provide access to? NTIS collects all scientific and technical information produced by the government or sponsored by the government. They have provide copies of this material on a cost-recovery basis to the rest of us. Now if you are here in Boulder you are lucky because CU-Boulder has one of the largest collections of technical reports outside of the government.

So how do you find it? There are a variety of tools to choose from:
  • NTIS Index This is a subscription resource from Engineering Village available on CU-Boulder's campus that lets you search the index of the NTIS collection. For help using this database, check out the library's guide.
  • NTIS This is the free search of the NTIS collection (again only an index with no full-text access), you don't get quite the same nice search features, but it is open to everyone with no limitations.
  • National Technical Reports Library (NTRL) This is another subscription resource that CU-Boulder is trialing right now. The first two resources only give you citations, this database provides full-text access to the reports within the database. If you like this database (or hate it), please fill out the library's trial evaluation form.
  • RSS feeds If you don't want to keep searching the databases, but you want to know when new resources come out subscribe to one of these feeds.
A few tips on technical reports:
  • Many of these reports are available online, if you want to check out if they are in another source search the title in a google or another search engine.
  • If you are having trouble finding a copy, visit the library or email us.
Still want more technical reports? There are lots of databases from agencies other then NTIS, check out the library's guide.

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