Grey literature: Advocating for diverse voices, increased use, improved access, and preservation

Wanda Marsolek, Shannon L. Farrell, Julia A. Kelly, Kristen Cooper

Abstract

Grey literature (GL), or works that are more ephemeral in nature and not produced by traditional publishers, plays an important role in research and teaching. Some disciplines, such as economics and forestry, rely on and value GL for how it allows rapid dissemination of information. Additionally, as systematic reviews become increasingly popular in a wider variety of disciplines, the focus on GL has intensified due to guidelines calling for its inclusion. These factors led the authors to further explore the role of GL across disciplines of our institution. We examined the current levels of GL in databases and institutional repositories, and surveyed and interviewed faculty on their relationship with GL. This research found a lack of diverse voices in GL holdings and issues in preservation and access. Libraries are well situated to address these issues and in this article we argue that they should: increase the collection of diverse voices in GL, preserve digital born materials, and provide access to GL. Finally, we offer several ways that libraries can accomplish this goal.

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Copyright Wanda Marsolek, Shannon L. Farrell, Julia A. Kelly, Kristen Cooper

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