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USGS Series descriptions

What documents and publications are indexed in the Pubs Warehouse?

The Publications Warehouse provides an index to official, USGS-authored publications of the U.S. Geological Survey.  This includes official publications such as USGS-authored journal articles, series reports, book chapters, other government publications, and conference proceedings.

USGS Series descriptions

Current USGS Series

These series are still active and being added to by the USGS Scientific Publishing Network.  More detailed information on these series is available from the USGS Survey Manual.

Circular (CIR/C)

A wide variety of topics covered concisely and clearly to provide a synthesis of understanding about processes, geographic areas, issues, or USGS programs. The Circular should be aimed at enhancing knowledge and understanding among general audiences, decision makers, university students, and scientists in related fields.

Data Report (DR)

Data Reports (formerly Data Series) are intended for extended descriptions (including purpose and scope, collection methods, summaries, and other information) of a dataset or database that provide more detail than can be included in a metadata record.

Fact Sheet (FS)

A wide variety of topics covered concisely and clearly; focus is on USGS science, programs, projects, and data and how they address issues of public interest. This series should not be used to release new scientific data or information that has not been published elsewhere. May be used to summarize or publicize results of previously published studies and their implications. May be used to release new information about USGS programs and products.

General Information Product (GIP)

Specifically intended to educate and inform teachers, students, the news media, nature enthusiasts, and anyone interested in studying things in, on, or around the Earth. A wide variety of topics covered concisely and clearly in a variety of formats. Focus is on USGS programs, projects, and services and general scientific information of public interest.

Open-File Report (OFR/OF)

Interpretive information that needs to be released immediately; maps and reports (and their supporting data) that need to be released as supporting documentation because they are referenced, discussed, or interpreted in another information product; preliminary findings (pending a final map or report); interim computer programs and user guides; bibliographies.

Professional Paper (PP)

Premier series of the USGS. Comprehensive reports of wide and lasting interest and scientific importance, characterized by thoroughness of study and breadth of scientific or geographic coverage. The series may include collections of related papers addressing different aspects of a single scientific topic, either issued together under one cover or separately as chapters.

Scientific Investigations Map (SIM)

Scientific results of studies presented as maps, charts, stratigraphic sections, or other large illustrations. Map sheet or pamphlet may include additional descriptive information, photographs, or other illustrations. The series also may include collections of related maps addressing different aspects of a single geographic area or scientific topic, issued separately, or as an atlas, issued collectively in book format.

Scientific Investigations Report (SIR)

Significant data and interpretations of lasting scientific interest but generally narrower in scope than Professional Papers. Includes collections of related papers addressing different aspects of a single scientific topic, either issued as individual chapters or as a single volume; proceedings and abstracts for USGS-sponsored meetings; some field trip guidebooks and road logs; and general manuals.

Techniques and Methods (TM)

Description of procedures for the collection, analysis, or interpretation of scientific data. Includes selected computer programs, including manuals and documentation that represent major models, methodology, or techniques.

Retired USGS series

These series have been retired at some point in the history of the USGS but are cataloged and accessible through the USGS Publications Warehouse.

Annual Report (AR)/ Yearbook (Y)/ Annual Financial Report (AFR)

Reports issued by the Director of the U.S. Geological Survey to the Secretary of the Department of the Interior. Over the history of the USGS these reports, originally called for under the Organic Act that established the USGS, have taken various forms and been published under various titles.

Annual State Water-Data Report (AWDR/WDR)

A series of annual reports that document hydrologic data gathered from the U.S. Geological Survey's and cooperating agencies' surface- and ground-water data-collection networks in each State, Puerto Rico, and the Trust Territories. These records of streamflow, ground-water levels, and water quality provide the hydrologic information needed by State, local, and Federal agencies, and the private sector for developing and managing our Nation's land and water resources.

Antarctic Geologic Map (A)

A series of geological maps of Antarctica published between 1970 and 1989.

Biological Science Report (BSR)

Record significant scientific interpretations and findings, usually of lasting scientific interest, addressing a wide variety of topics relevant to Biological Resources Discipline (BRD) investigations and research. May include extensive data or theoretical analyses. Reports published by the National Biological Survey and later by the U.S. Geological Survey. The report series began in 1995 and continued through 2003.

Bulletin (B)

Significant data and interpretations of lasting scientific interest but generally narrower in scope than professional papers. Results of resource studies, geologic or topographic studies, and collections of short papers on related topics.

Circum-Pacific Map (CP)

Multicolor equal-area maps at scales of 1:10,000,000 for the Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, Southeast quadrants of the Pacific and the Arctic and Antarctic regions, and of 1:17,000,000 for the whole Pacific Basin. The series consists of base, geographic, geodynamic, plate-tectonic, geologic, tectonic, mineral-resources, and energy-resources maps, as well as other miscellaneous maps.

Coal Investigations (COAL/C-) Map

Origin, character, and resource potential of coal deposits shown by geologic maps, structure contours, cross sections, columnar sections, and measured coal sections, where appropriate. Text on same sheet or in an accompanying pamphlet.

Data Series (DS)

The Data Series is intended for release of basic data sets, databases, and multimedia or motion graphics. This series can be used for videos, computer programs, and collections of digital photographs. Replaced by Data Report (DR) in 2021.

Digital Data Series (DDS)

Includes a wide variety of digital data distributed through the medium of Compact Disc-Read Only Memory technology. This medium takes advantage of the latest technological advances in digital mass-storage and in the internationally recognized standards (ISO-9660) for CD-ROM's. Replaced by Data Series (DS) in 2004.

Folios of the Geologic Atlas (GF)

Quadrangles named from a city, town, or prominent natural feature within the area covered. They include maps showing the topography, geology, underground structure and mineral deposits of the area and several pages of descriptive text and illustrations. May include maps of oil and gas and artesian water. Precursor to Geologic Quadrangles.

General Interest Publication (GIP)

A wide variety of topics covered concisely and clearly in a variety of formats. Focus is on USGS programs, projects, and services and general scientific information of public interest. The series covers a broad range of topics in a variety of media, including pamphlets, postcards, posters, videos, teacher kits, CD/DVDs, bookmarks, and interactive and motion graphics. Now called "General Information Product".

Geologic Quadrangle (GQ) Map

Detailed geologic maps depicting areas of special importance to the solution of geologic problems. May portray bedrock or surficial units, or both. May include brief texts, structure sections, and columnar sections. 71/2- or 15-minute quadrangles printed in multicolor on topographic bases that meet National Map Accuracy standards.

Geophysical Investigations (GP) Map

Chiefly the results of aeromagnetic and (or) gravity surveys shown by contours. Area depicted may range in size from a few square miles to an entire country. Single or multiple sheets.

Hydrologic Investigations Atlas (HA)

A wide range of hydrologic and hydrogeologic data of regional and national interest, such as streamflow, ground water, water quality, and extent of flooding. Various scales. Single or multiple sheets.

Information and Technology Report (ITR)

Important reference material or results of technical, but not necessarily scientific, investigations.  May include materials such as handbooks and manuals, data compilations such as critical tables and bibliographies; professional seminar, conference, or workshop presentations; book-length monographs; synthesis documents; and compilations of conference and workshop papers. Reports published in the National Biological Survey and later in the U.S. Geological Survey, Information and Technology report series. The series began in 1995 and continued through 2003.

Land Use and Land Cover (L) Map

Various categories of land use and cover, both artificial and natural, for use by geographers, land-use planners, and others. Planimetric maps at scales of 1:250,000 or 1:100,000 on a single sheet.

Mineral Investigations Resource (MR) Map

Information on mineral occurrences, mineral resources, mines and prospects, commodities, and target areas of possible resources other than coal, petroleum, or natural gas. Small scale (1:250,000 or smaller).

Miscellaneous Field Studies (MF) Map

Rapidly prepared, low-budget maps in a broad range of presentations in terms of portrayal, completeness, interpretations, draftsmanship, scale, and area coverage. Single or multiple sheets.

Miscellaneous Investigations/ Geologic Investigations (I) Series

High-quality maps and charts of varied subject matter such as bathymetry, geology, hydrogeology, landforms, land-use classification, vegetation, and others including maps of planets, the Moon, and other satellites. Various scales. Topographic or planimetric bases; regular or irregular areas. May include a text printed as an accompanying pamphlet.

Missouri Basin Study (MB)

These maps are the result of geologic mapping and mineral-resource investigations conducted by the Geological Survey as ppart of the program of the Department of the Interior for study and development of the Missouri River Basin (Series definition from Publications of the Geological Survey 1879-1961)

Monographs (M)

An occasional series published from the 1880s to the 1970s about various topics, typically by one author.

Oil and Gas Investigations (OC) Chart

Information about known or possible petroleum resources, presented as logs, correlation diagrams, graphs, and tables, but ordinarily not as maps. Single or multiple sheets. Text printed on same sheet or in an accompanying pamphlet.

Oil and Gas Investigations (OM) Map

Apply particularly to areas of known or possible petroleum resources. Typically include cross sections, columnar sections, structure contours, correlation diagrams, and information on wells drilled for oil and gas. Single or multiple sheets. Text usually on map sheet but sometimes printed as an accompanying pamphlet.

Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations (TWRI)

Manuals that describe approved procedures for planning and executing field and laboratory studies, including collecting, analyzing, and processing hydrologic data.

Trace Elements Investigations (TEI)

A USGS Series published from 1944-1966, mostly focused on trace elements released during nuclear testing

Trace Elements Memorandum (TEM)

A USGS Series published from 1947-1960, mostly focused on trace elements released during nuclear testing

Water-Resources Investigations Report (WRIR/WRI)

Hydrologic information, mainly of local interest, intended for quick release. Book or map format. Varied scales.

Water-Supply Paper (WSP)

Reports on all aspects of hydrology, including quality, recoverability, and use of water resources; statistical reports on streamflow, floods, groundwater levels, and water quality; and collections of short papers on related topics.