Grey literature is information which has been published informally or non-commercially, or remains unpublished. It can appear in many forms, including government reports, statistics, patents, conference papers and even non-written resources such as posters and infographics.
Grey literature is not usually peer-reviewed, but may still be good, reliable information.
See the PHCRIS Introduction to Accessing the Grey Literature and the HLWiki page on grey literature for a more detailed overview. They are aimed at medical researchers but are relevant to anyone searching for grey literature.
This page lists some resources to help you get started, but is not comprehensive - you'll need to look elsewhere as well.
It's important to approach your search systematically as grey literature can sometimes be difficult to find. Before you start searching, ask yourself:
This will influence how and where you search. For example, if you wanted to know the most common cause of traffic accidents in Australia over the last ten years, you might start by looking on Australian government websites - there may be official records for that kind of information.
You should evaluate every source you use, but it's particularly important to do so when using grey literature. The quality of grey literature can vary greatly as it comes from a wide range of sources and doesn't go through the traditional editorial process.
When evaluating grey literature, consider the following criteria:
Many other databases include conference proceedings, check their descriptions on the databases library guide.
See the library's government publications guide for more detailed advice on locating documents from Australia and other countries.
Selected Australian government sites: