Date of this Version
Shortly after World War II, the President created the Publication Board, an interagency committee, and authorized it to distribute government documents bottled up by war-time secrecy as well as documents containing information obtained from World War II enemies. The Publication Board began advertising documents for sale in the Bibliography of Scientific and Industrial Reports (BSIR) in 1946. Those documents were assigned PB numbers which were to be used as order numbers when ordering documents from the Publication Board.
The documents distributed by the Publication Board soon came to be known as technical reports. The Publication Board eventually evolved into the National Technical Information Service (NTIS). BSIR evolved into the NTIS online database.
This index correlates the report numbers assigned by the issuing agencies with the PB numbers assigned by the Publication Board and its successor agencies. This index is particularly useful because most of the reports issued before 1962 are effectively lost. They are not listed in the NTIS database, and -- as of January 1, 2012 -- most of the reports themselves are not available online and most are not listed in any online database.
For further information see "The “Lost” U.S. Technical Reports: Obtaining Reports from the 1940s and ‘50s" by Robert L. Bolin which is available at: