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Materials Science: The Student Chapter of the Materials Research Society Research Toolbox

Engineering Librarian & CAPLA Liaison

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Paula C Johnson
Main Library A403

Technical Reports

"A technical report (also scientific report) is a document that describes the process, progress, or results of technical or scientific research or the state of a technical or scientific research problem. It might also include recommendations and conclusions of the research. Unlike other scientific literature, such as scientific journals and the proceedings of some academic conferences, technical reports rarely undergo comprehensive independent peer review before publication. They may be considered grey literature. Where there is a review process, it is often limited to within the originating organization. Similarly, there are no formal publishing procedures for such reports, except where established locally." - from Wikipedia
Includes 200 million pages of science information and R&D results for 36+ U.S. government agencies

TRAIL (Technical Report Archive and Image Library)
Has detailed reports that include materials data, mathematical functions, time series, diffraction patterns, measurements, and much more. The data provided are from direct measurements. Among other historical technical reports, TRAIL currently contains the following report series:
Also includes the information within (listed above) and is a gateway to national and international scientific databases. You can search resources from 17 countries.



Students, faculty, and staff have full access to the ASTM and IEEE standards databases. The Global IHS database can be searched to find other current standards. Any standard that is needed for a class project or research can be acquired for UA faculty, staff, or students by contacting Paula Johnson for assistance. Please send the standard number, title and any other useful information to

Want learn more about Standards? Take this informational tutorial!

Whys & hows of patent searching

You have an idea for an invention — or have gone so far as to create a prototype. Before marketing your invention, you will need to determine if your invention has already been patented. To do this, conduct a thorough patent search. This will usually involve searching a number of different patent sites, so it's useful to keep a log of all your search activity to avoid duplicate efforts.

See General Information Concerning Patents and Patent Process Overview for more information.

You can begin your search the following way:

1.  Brainstorm keywords to describe your invention — think of synonyms.

2.  Use your keywords to search for a similar match of your invention in Google Patents. The Advanced Search in Google Patents lets you enter phrases, exclude a word, etc.

3.  If you find a similar invention, write down its class and subclass.

4.  Use the class and subclass to search patents and patent applications at the USPTO website classification search.

[Note: The default search is CPC (Cooperative Patent Classification), which harmonizes the former European Classification (ECLA) and United States Patent Classification (USPC) systems.]

5.  Trace related patents through references.