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Gray literature 101: Introduction

Gray literature 101: What it is, where it is, and how to find it.



What is gray literature?

The Twelfth International Conference on Grey Literature in Prague in 2010 arrived at the following definition:

"Grey literature stands for manifold document types produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in print and electronic formats that are protected by intellectual property rights, of sufficient quality to be collected and preserved by libraries and institutional repositories, but not controlled by commercial publishers; i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body."


Traditionally, the term gray literature has included:

  • Reports
  • Conference proceedings
  • Doctoral theses/dissertations

    There are also many other forms of gray literature, including: Newsletters, technical notes, working papers, white papers, patents, and more.


    GRaY or GReY?


    grAy is how it's spelled in America
    grEy is how it's spelled in England


     Since there are two accepted spellings, to locate information on gray/grey literature in general, search for:

    (gray OR grey) literature

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