Grey literature consists of documents produced by government, academic, business or organizations "where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body." (Greynet)
Examples include annual reports, conference proceedings, technical reports, theses, white papers, and even informal communication such as blogs, emails, or social media posts.
Searching the grey literature is important because not all evidence is available in peer-reviewed, scholarly journal articles.
Since grey literature isn't usually found in traditional indexes you need to search for it in a variety of resources. Some places to start:
Websites of governmental and non-governmental stakeholder organizations (see box below)
To locate unpublished clinical trials of drugs...
Since grey literature isn't usually found in traditional indexes you need to search for it in a variety of resources. Some places to start: Databases of grey literature, including conference proceedings, dissertations, and theses
Find ways to narrow down the scope of your search. Some things to think about when developing a grey literature search strategy:
Who are your stakeholders?
What kinds of literature are you interested in?
What time periods or geographic/geopolitical areas are relevant to your research? Try a range of years for your search. Depending on where the conference was held, and who sponsored it, the proceedings can take 2-3 years to become published. Cited works may have a different dates or vary in title of the proceedings publication. There is often a year of publication and a year the conference was actually held.
Contact the author. Author email addresses can be found on conference websites, via their university affiliation, a Google search will often turn up Currirulum vitae, or other recently published articles from the same author may include contact information.
Contact a librarian. We have our ways. email@example.com