Did you know the MIT Libraries has a vast storehouse of technical literature NOT in Barton, but easily accessible right here on campus? Recently our librarians have demystified this very important world: http://libguides.mit.edu/techreports.
Thousands of research reports from national and international labs and other universities or contracting companies were sent to MIT and are kept in our Annex. The collection is particularly strong in energy, including the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and all its successor agencies (ERDA, DOE). The research guide will help you find them. And because they are often the sources behind published journal articles or conference papers, they can provide fuller accounts of the research, including designs, experimental details or other practical information.
Bottom line? As more literature gets digitized, more citations to technical reports are discovered. Dive into this world yourself, or Ask Us!