Grey Literature Tutorial


What do you think of when you hear
the word ‘grey’? fuzzy? undefined? What about ‘grey literature’? The ‘black-and-white’ literature that
you get when searching most databases is produced by commercial publishers In contrast, grey literature is produced
by entities whose main task is NOT publishing The official definition of ‘grey literature’
brought to you by the International Conference on Grey Literature is Information produced on all levels of
government, academia, business and industry in electronic and print formats
not controlled by commercial publishing i.e. where publishing is not the
primary activity of the producing body. So, if grey literature is not produced by
commercial publishing, who produces it? Many organizations produce grey
literature, industry, think tanks government departments as well a scholarly societies and
associations can all be producers of grey literature. How about academia? How about you? Are you writing a thesis? Doing a blog? There are many kinds of grey literature. These range from the more scholarly to
the more community-based kinds of grey literature. Theses and dissertations, conference
proceedings, and research reports are scholarly kinds of grey literature. Government websites, technical reports,
and white papers are government and industry based grey literature. Newsletters, emails, blogs, and other social networking sites are community-based kinds of grey literature. In addition, there may also be grey literature that is specifically relevant to your discipline. So for example, practice guidelines are highly relevant to nursing and medicine. Working papers are used in the Social
Sciences, and patents are important to engineering. Data is also a kind of grey literature. Think about census, geospatial and
economic data. Grey literature can help you supplement
your research. It can sometimes be more current than literature published in scholarly journals. And it can offer a fuller picture of the information available on a particular topic. So how do you search for grey
literature? This can be an iterative process. There are numerous resources available to assist you. For example, Scopus, Google, Open Grey Repository, and Web of Science can point you to different kinds of grey literature. If you need help finding grey
literature, come talk to your librarian.

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