Report literature is an important primary source of information, particularly for a research library. This new medium for communication of information came into being during World War II due to scarcity of paper, restrictions in distribution, and delay in bringing out periodicals. Reports not only solved the problems then, but proved quite useful to be continued after the war.
Reports originate in various research organisations and government departments and appear in a wide variety. Most of them report about research and development projects, in progress or completed. They may present quick preliminary information about the work in progress; or they may give complete information about the work just completed. In some subjects, such as nuclear science and aeronautics, a good amount of literature is available in the form of reports.
Technical reports may be issued ad hoc or in series periodically. Examples of reports are NASA reports, EURATOM reports, EEC reports, etc. Even in India, several institutions publish reports. National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore, publishes several reports every year. A special characteristic of a report is that it contains details of the project and includes a large amount of data. Information in reports is generally meant for internal audience. It may be said to be a nascent, unedited, non-formalised presentation of findings with a considerable amount of usage of jargon, acronyms, abbreviations, etc.