National Technical Reports Library (NTRL)

What is NTRL?

The National Technical Reports Library (NTRL) is the new public search database of the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). It offers free public access to a database of over three million federal science and technology reports.

NTIS created NTRL to solve the inconsistencies in access to many of their documents. The same documents could have been available for a fee through NTIS while free access was given at the agency’s website.

NTRL provides PDF full-text to 800,000 documents. The remaining are mostly pre-1995 and must be scanned from microfiche for a fee. Once a scan is made, it will be made available free of charge for the rest of NTRL users.

See the press release for more information.


NTRL is a free service but there are several way access is provided.

Open NTRL is an open search engine that allows basic searching and viewing of the citations and abstracts of all documents included in the database.

Public NTRL requires the creation of a free password protected account. It provides the same features as Open NTRL but includes the ability to download 10 full-text PDFs per session.

Premium NTRL is available for a fee to individuals or institutions. This subscription includes all the features of Open and Public NTRL but includes advanced searching, ability to email results, creation of personal comments and notes, and 40 full-text PDF downloads per session.

The institutional premium NTRL also allows a digital-on-demand program of 5 requests per week. This allows for institutions to request documents that are not full-text be scanned and added to NTRL.

The Subscription Page offers additional information.

Public NTRL Search Tips

Public NTRL only allows for basic searching by keywords, title, author, report, or accession number.

It searches using Boolean operators and provides automatic stemming to each individual term. The basic search only searches in the Accession Number, Title, Date, Report Number, Keywords, Abstract, Report Year and Full-text fields.

For example, the same search for:

Title: Selenium and Mercury Concentrations in Fish, Wolford Mountain Reservoir, Colorado, 2005

Report Number: USGS-SIR-2007-5019

Accession Number: PB2008-107861

Will return the same document.

Note: Report and Accession Number searches can be done with or without punctuation.


Public NTRL does not allow for advanced searches, but it does allow limiting to documents with full-text.


Both Open and Public NTRL provide metadata, including the number of pages, and abstracts of documents.

If the document is available full-text a Download Button will be available. For searches in Open NTRL the Download Button will be viewable, to indicate full-text is available, but it will not allow downloading of the document.


A preview of Premium NTRL search features can be viewed in the Step-by-Step NTRL Digital on Demand PowerPoint

We welcome your comments and suggestions. If you have a resource that you would like to see highlighted please leave us a comment.

Angela R. Davis, Engineering Liaison Librarian, Penn State,


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