Grey literature - a hidden resource

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Grey literature - a hidden resource

  1. 1. Grey Literature – a hidden resource Elizabeth Newbold Engineering Information for Today & Tomorrow November 22, 2006
  2. 2. Contents <ul><li>What is grey literature? </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Characteristics </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Examples </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Grey Literature collections at the British Library </li></ul><ul><li>How to find grey literature </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusions </li></ul>
  3. 3. What is Grey Literature? <ul><li>Some definitions: </li></ul><ul><li>“Foreign or domestic open source material that usually is available through specialised channels and may not enter normal channels or system of publication, distribution, bibliographical control or acquisition by booksellers or subscription agents” (US Interagency on Gray Literature Working Group 1995) </li></ul><ul><li>“Information produced at all levels of government, academic, 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” (4th International Conference on Grey Literature 1997) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Characteristics of Grey Literature <ul><li>Not primarily produced for commercial publication – production as a means of getting a message across rather than publishing as a commercial venture (for profit or otherwise) </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult to acquire – not part of major distribution channels </li></ul><ul><li>Few if any bibliographic controls – e.g. lack of ISBN or ISSN </li></ul><ul><li>Not peer reviewed </li></ul><ul><li>Transient or ephemeral in nature </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult to find – historically not included in commercial abstracting and indexing databases </li></ul>
  5. 5. Examples of grey literature <ul><li>Technical reports </li></ul><ul><li>Conferences </li></ul><ul><li>Theses </li></ul><ul><li>Newsletters </li></ul><ul><li>Trade/product literature </li></ul><ul><li>Standards and specifications </li></ul><ul><li>Codes of practice </li></ul><ul><li>Pre-prints </li></ul><ul><li>Web objects </li></ul><ul><li>…… ..etc </li></ul>
  6. 6. Grey literature holdings at the British Library <ul><li>The BL “grey literature collection” has historically been defined as reports, conferences and theses collected by BLDSC special acquisitions </li></ul><ul><li>Origins date from 1950s with proactive and systematic acquisition of scientific technical reports. Expanded over the years to include doctoral theses and conference proceedings </li></ul><ul><li>However grey literature holdings are far wider than reports, conferences and theses. </li></ul><ul><li>Within the BL collection are, for example, comprehensive collections of patents, British Standards and British Official Publications. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Grey Literature Holdings at The British Library
  8. 8. How to find grey literature <ul><li>The Internet – has improved visibility of grey literature </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Search engines </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Google (of course!) www.google.co.uk </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Scirus www.scirus.com </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Portals </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>GrayLit Network www.osti.gov/graylit </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>www.science.gov </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Directory of Open Access Repositories www.opendoar.org </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>TechXtra www.techxtra.ac.uk </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Abstracting and Indexing databases </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Dissertation Abstracts and Index to Theses </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>National Technical Information Service (NTIS) database </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Web Citation Index </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Full text databases (subscription) </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>IET Digital Library </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>IEEE Xplore </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>British Standards Online </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Organisations websites </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>National Physical Laboratory www.npl.co.uk </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>The Engineering Council www.engc.co.uk </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  9. 9. In conclusion <ul><li>Grey literature comes in varying shades </li></ul><ul><li>Relative and subjective </li></ul><ul><li>What one library/librarian considers to be grey another won’t </li></ul><ul><li>Obscure term that hides the true value of the information </li></ul><ul><li>The internet and e-access to material has improved the visibility and accessibility of grey literature </li></ul><ul><li>Distinction between non-grey and grey literature is breaking down </li></ul>
  10. 10. Contact detials: <ul><li>Elizabeth Newbold </li></ul><ul><li>Collections Manager – Science, Technology and Medicine </li></ul><ul><li>The British Library </li></ul><ul><li>96 Euston Road </li></ul><ul><li>London NW2 2DB </li></ul><ul><li>Email: elizabeth.newbold@bl.uk </li></ul>

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