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Introduction to Grey Literature for Health Sciences
Franklin Sayre
franklin.sayre@ubc.ca
February 2014
Objectives:
By the end of this session you will be able to:

1. Define grey literature & explain why it’s important
2. Plan a reasonable grey literature search based on your topic
3. Identify some key databases
4. Search Google using advanced operators
Activity: brainstorming keywords (2 minute)
Write down:
1.The major concepts that make up your research topic
2.The keywords, phrases, and synonyms that could be used to
describe each concept
Grey Literature is Literature that isn’t in
the form of a book or a journal article
“Information produced on all levels of government,
academics, 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.”
Third International Conference on Grey Literature in 1997
What are some examples of Grey
Literature?
• Conference proceedings and abstracts
• Thesis and dissertations
• Reports & publications from governmental and nongovernmental organizations
• Technical reports and standards
• Social media, electronic and personal communications
• Statistics
• Etc.
Why is Grey Literature Important?

• Helps offset the bias of published results (drug trials, etc.)
• Helps introduce alternative perspectives
• Timeliness (delay between research & publication)
• Coverage of emerging research areas
Finding Grey Literature is Difficult
• Vast
• Not systematically organized or described like
books/journals
• Not systematically archived or preserved
How to Find Grey Literature
Narrowing your scope: things to think about
• Who are your stakeholders?
• Government? Non-Government? Academic?
• What
•
•
•
•

kinds of literature are you interested in?
Theses & Dissertations?
Conference Proceedings?
Reports?
Statistics?

• What time period is relevant?
• What geographical/geopolitical area is relevant?
Finding Stakeholder Organizations
• Directory of Health Organizations (NLM) Directory of
health organizations maintained by the National Library of
Medicine (NLM)

• Grey Literature Publishers List (The New York Academy of Medic
A very comprehensive list of organizations that produce
health-related grey literature.
• Grey Matters (CADTH) Checklist of national and
international HTA web sites, drug and device regulatory
agencies, clinical trial registries, etc.
How to Find Grey Literature
Where do you find grey literature:
• Specific databases
• Theses and dissertations, conference proceedings,
reports, statistics, etc.
• Institutional/Subject Repositories (e.g. UBC’s cIRcle)
• Theses and dissertations, reports, presentations,
conference proceedings, etc.
• Stakeholder websites (WHO, Gov. of Canada)
• Search engines (Google)
• Personal contacts
• Reference lists
How to Find Grey Literature
Conference Proceedings & Abstracts:
• PapersFirst / ProceedingsFirst
• Web of Science
• SciFinder
• EMBASE / CINAHL / MEDLINE
• & many more – see research guide
Dissertations and Theses:
• Proquest Dissertations and Thesis
• See: UBC Library’s Dissertations & Theses guide:
http://libguides.library.ubc.ca/theses?hs=a
Activity: Searching Web of Science of Conference
Proceedings and Abstracts
How to Find Grey Literature
Reports and other materials:

• Canadian Health Research Collection / Canadian Public
Policy Collection
• Opengrey (more European)
• Grey Literature Report (American focus)
• Google
• & many more – see research guide
Activity: Searching the Canadian Public
Policy Collection
Canadian Health Policy Collection
–Find via the UBC Library website by searching in the
“Indexes & Databases” tab
–Search using keywords and “quoted phrases”
–Also search the Canadian Public Policy Collection
Advanced Google for Grey Literature
“quotation marks” & verbatim mode

• “Quotation Marks”
• Force words to appear in a specific order
• Reduce the number of results
• E.G. “cell migration” vs. “human migration”
• Verbatim Mode
• Turns off synonyms, spell checking, & localization
for all search terms
• To use first conduct a search then select “Search
tools”  “All results”  “Verbatim”
Advanced Google for Grey Literature
Building complex searches Using OR and (brackets)

• AND is implicit – don’t need to add it between search
terms
• Use OR to include synonyms
• Always uppercase OR
• E.G. “global warming” OR “climate change”
• Use brackets to (group keywords together)
• E.G. (“global warming” OR “climate change”) (“food
security” OR “food independence”)
Advanced Google for Grey Literature
Searching using page structure
• Intitle/allintitle: Specifies that the keyword(s) are
located in the title
• Idea is that words in the title are more important
• Use carefully, doesn’t work with filetype: operator
• E.G. allintitle: diabetes mobile health
• Other operators to get at structure:
• intext/allintext: Looks in text of website
• Inurl/allinurl: looks in URL of website
Advanced Google for Grey Literature
Limiting results with site: and filetype:
• site: limits results to specific sites based on URLs
• E.G. site:ubc.ca
• E.G. site:gc.ca
• E.G. site:edu OR site:gov
• filetype: limits results to specific filetypes
• E.G. filetype:pdf
• E.G. filetype:xls
• E.G. site:pdf OR site:doc
• Do not use with site structure operators like intitle:
Advanced Google for Grey Literature
Removing erroneous results with exclude (-)
• -term removes results with that term
• E.G. Smithers –simpsons –homer
• E.G. migration cancer -cell
• Can also be used with the site: operator
• E.G. site:ca -site:gc.ca (Canadian sites but no
government of Canada sites)
• E.G. -site:nih.gov (removes pubmed results from
Google Scholar)
Advanced Google for Grey Literature
Adding flexibility with wildcards
• Wildcard Operator *
• E.G. “population and * health”
• * replaces 1-4 words or numbers
• Use with or without quotations
Further Information
Grey Literature for Health Research Guide:
http://libguides.library.ubc.ca/greylitforhealth
Health Statistics and Data Guide
http://libguides.library.ubc.ca/healthstats
Dissertations & Theses Guide:
http://libguides.library.ubc.ca/theses?hs=a
Power Searching with Google:
http://www.powersearchingwithgoogle.com/course/aps/skills
Introduction to Grey literature for Health Sciences

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Introduction to Grey literature for Health Sciences

  • 1. Introduction to Grey Literature for Health Sciences Franklin Sayre franklin.sayre@ubc.ca February 2014
  • 2. Objectives: By the end of this session you will be able to: 1. Define grey literature & explain why it’s important 2. Plan a reasonable grey literature search based on your topic 3. Identify some key databases 4. Search Google using advanced operators
  • 3. Activity: brainstorming keywords (2 minute) Write down: 1.The major concepts that make up your research topic 2.The keywords, phrases, and synonyms that could be used to describe each concept
  • 4. Grey Literature is Literature that isn’t in the form of a book or a journal article “Information produced on all levels of government, academics, 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.” Third International Conference on Grey Literature in 1997
  • 5. What are some examples of Grey Literature? • Conference proceedings and abstracts • Thesis and dissertations • Reports & publications from governmental and nongovernmental organizations • Technical reports and standards • Social media, electronic and personal communications • Statistics • Etc.
  • 6. Why is Grey Literature Important? • Helps offset the bias of published results (drug trials, etc.) • Helps introduce alternative perspectives • Timeliness (delay between research & publication) • Coverage of emerging research areas
  • 7. Finding Grey Literature is Difficult • Vast • Not systematically organized or described like books/journals • Not systematically archived or preserved
  • 8. How to Find Grey Literature Narrowing your scope: things to think about • Who are your stakeholders? • Government? Non-Government? Academic? • What • • • • kinds of literature are you interested in? Theses & Dissertations? Conference Proceedings? Reports? Statistics? • What time period is relevant? • What geographical/geopolitical area is relevant?
  • 9. Finding Stakeholder Organizations • Directory of Health Organizations (NLM) Directory of health organizations maintained by the National Library of Medicine (NLM) • Grey Literature Publishers List (The New York Academy of Medic A very comprehensive list of organizations that produce health-related grey literature. • Grey Matters (CADTH) Checklist of national and international HTA web sites, drug and device regulatory agencies, clinical trial registries, etc.
  • 10. How to Find Grey Literature Where do you find grey literature: • Specific databases • Theses and dissertations, conference proceedings, reports, statistics, etc. • Institutional/Subject Repositories (e.g. UBC’s cIRcle) • Theses and dissertations, reports, presentations, conference proceedings, etc. • Stakeholder websites (WHO, Gov. of Canada) • Search engines (Google) • Personal contacts • Reference lists
  • 11. How to Find Grey Literature Conference Proceedings & Abstracts: • PapersFirst / ProceedingsFirst • Web of Science • SciFinder • EMBASE / CINAHL / MEDLINE • & many more – see research guide Dissertations and Theses: • Proquest Dissertations and Thesis • See: UBC Library’s Dissertations & Theses guide: http://libguides.library.ubc.ca/theses?hs=a
  • 12. Activity: Searching Web of Science of Conference Proceedings and Abstracts
  • 13. How to Find Grey Literature Reports and other materials: • Canadian Health Research Collection / Canadian Public Policy Collection • Opengrey (more European) • Grey Literature Report (American focus) • Google • & many more – see research guide
  • 14. Activity: Searching the Canadian Public Policy Collection Canadian Health Policy Collection –Find via the UBC Library website by searching in the “Indexes & Databases” tab –Search using keywords and “quoted phrases” –Also search the Canadian Public Policy Collection
  • 15. Advanced Google for Grey Literature “quotation marks” & verbatim mode • “Quotation Marks” • Force words to appear in a specific order • Reduce the number of results • E.G. “cell migration” vs. “human migration” • Verbatim Mode • Turns off synonyms, spell checking, & localization for all search terms • To use first conduct a search then select “Search tools”  “All results”  “Verbatim”
  • 16. Advanced Google for Grey Literature Building complex searches Using OR and (brackets) • AND is implicit – don’t need to add it between search terms • Use OR to include synonyms • Always uppercase OR • E.G. “global warming” OR “climate change” • Use brackets to (group keywords together) • E.G. (“global warming” OR “climate change”) (“food security” OR “food independence”)
  • 17. Advanced Google for Grey Literature Searching using page structure • Intitle/allintitle: Specifies that the keyword(s) are located in the title • Idea is that words in the title are more important • Use carefully, doesn’t work with filetype: operator • E.G. allintitle: diabetes mobile health • Other operators to get at structure: • intext/allintext: Looks in text of website • Inurl/allinurl: looks in URL of website
  • 18. Advanced Google for Grey Literature Limiting results with site: and filetype: • site: limits results to specific sites based on URLs • E.G. site:ubc.ca • E.G. site:gc.ca • E.G. site:edu OR site:gov • filetype: limits results to specific filetypes • E.G. filetype:pdf • E.G. filetype:xls • E.G. site:pdf OR site:doc • Do not use with site structure operators like intitle:
  • 19. Advanced Google for Grey Literature Removing erroneous results with exclude (-) • -term removes results with that term • E.G. Smithers –simpsons –homer • E.G. migration cancer -cell • Can also be used with the site: operator • E.G. site:ca -site:gc.ca (Canadian sites but no government of Canada sites) • E.G. -site:nih.gov (removes pubmed results from Google Scholar)
  • 20. Advanced Google for Grey Literature Adding flexibility with wildcards • Wildcard Operator * • E.G. “population and * health” • * replaces 1-4 words or numbers • Use with or without quotations
  • 21. Further Information Grey Literature for Health Research Guide: http://libguides.library.ubc.ca/greylitforhealth Health Statistics and Data Guide http://libguides.library.ubc.ca/healthstats Dissertations & Theses Guide: http://libguides.library.ubc.ca/theses?hs=a Power Searching with Google: http://www.powersearchingwithgoogle.com/course/aps/skills

Editor's Notes

  1. Focus is largely on using google useful for grey literature People have varied research interests Always think of different places
  2. Key Published by a source for which publishing is not their primary activity Not systematically included in existing catalogues, indexes or databases Therefore requires searching in a variety of places using a variety of strategies
  3. Anything not a journal article or a book
  4. Goal is to start narrowing down the scope of your search. Literature too big to be comprehensive
  5. 11000 full text reports and documents from canadain govenrmental and non-governmental agencies on aspects of health polcy Canadian Public policy collection is 25000 documens on all aspects of public policy, some crossover, good to search both
  6. Goal it to end with a reasonable set of results Google can be unpredictable. Search is increasingly becoming incomprehensible. Quotation marks no longer always lower the number of results. “Quotation Marks” FOOD SECURITY Vs. “FOOD SECURITY” “Verbatim Mode” PUPPY – see Vancouver results half way down page disappear
  7. -harper