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DNP Doctor of Nursing Practice

Grey Literature is defined as "information produced on all levels of government, academia, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing."

ICGL Luxembourg definition, 1997, expanded in NY, 2004

Grey literature is not formally part of "traditional publishing cycles." producers include research groups, non-profits, universities and government agencies.

Grey literature is not widely disseminated - dissemination of published materials is the goals in traditional publishing. Often, infrastructure exists to disseminate this material efficiently.


"Grey Area" or Grey Zone" think of grey zone as an "in-between" metaphor.

Many organizations in the digital era create their own"in-house" reports, studies, etc.

Many health organizations publish locally, nationally and internationally. (The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Kaiser Family Foundation, etc)

Many organizations have digital repositories that store archived materials (Rutgers has RUCore)

  • Theses and dissertations
  • Census, economic and other "grey" data sources
  • Databases if ongoing research
  • Statistics and other data sources
  • Conference proceedings, poster presentations and abstracts
  • Newsletters
  • Research reports
  • Technical specifications, standards and annual reports
  • Informal communications (email, telephone conversations, meetings)
  • Translations
  • Symposia proceedings, conference proceedings
  • e-prints, preprints
  • Electronic networked communication
  • Blogs, podcasts and video on the web
  • Repositories
  • Listserv archives
  • Digital oibraries
  • Spatial data (google earth)
  • Meta-searching, federated searching, portals
  • Wikis, twitter, social media
  • Government departments and agencies
  • Non-profit economic and trade organizations
  • Academic and research institutes
  • Societies, political parties
  • Libraries, museums, archives
  • Businesses and corporations
  • Freelance individuals; bloggers, consultants
  • Grey literature provides a very current perspective
  • Complements or fills in the gap of traditional publishers
  • Unconventional formats  (pamphlets, ephemera, blogs)
  • Lack of standard bibliographic description/control
  • Short life cycle of information
  • Database searching (specialized databases and search portals
  • Searching in obscure or small library catalogs
  • Handsearching "high impact" and relevant specialist journals
  • Personal communications
  • Scanning reference lists
  • Googling (Google, Google Scholar)
  • Other search tools (Bing, Twitter, etc)
  • Blogging
  • Podcasting

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