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Gray literature 101: Search help

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


Search Help

Because the genre of Gray Literature encompasses an almost infinite number of topics in a wide range of formats, there is no uniform search strategy that will be effective across all subject areas.  However, here are a few tips to help get you started with a gray literature search:

  • Start broad, then narrow your focus as appropriate.
  • Try limiting your search to .org or .gov domains.
  • Try limiting your search to [PDF] format, conference proceedings, or dissertations.
  • Ask:  Who Cares? 

Who Cares?

The reason for asking yourself "who cares?" is to get you thinking about agencies, organizations, and associations with an interest in the subject at hand, i.e., stakeholders with information to distribute, an agenda to promote, an issue to publicize, or a cause to support.  Examples include:

  • Advocacy groups
  • Agencies -- government and private
  • Industry/manufacturer
  • Trade/professional associations


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