Grey Literature Acquisition and Management
Upon investigation, this is far from truth, unless you find research papers from eminent researchers to be boring. Grey literature has some connection to the rain’s “grey matter” since so much of it seems highly intellectual and is significant for research and development in many subject areas.
Grey literature is used to describe publications not published commercially or indexed by major database vendors. It is occasionally the sole source for specific research questions.This is why it is highly imperative for academic libraries in Africa to acquire these resources against any challenges. Due to the nature of these literature, academic libraries have had challenges with their acquisition as well as making them accessible. Their management is also source of worry to academic librarians. This is because it may be ephemeral but it continues to have impact in research, teaching and learning, on which the goal of academic libraries revolves It is difficult also to define grey literature precisely.
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Organizations which produce grey literature prefer to describe it rather than defining it (Goaled, 1999).
Grey literature is so called because of its semipublic status and can be difficult to locate, which is why researchers refer to it as the “fugitive literature”. They are usually regarded as materials which connote bleakness and questionable authority, UT this may not be always true. Most grey literature emanate from government departments, academia, trade unions, research establishment, churches, associations, etc.They are not usually published (resulting in lack of International Standard Serial Number/ International Standard book Number) through the conventional mainstream publishers and they are usually in format restricted and limited in scope. Information World Review (1996) calls grey literature “the unsung hero, the foot soldier, the foundation of the building. Greener (1999) defines grey literature as “that which is produced on all levels f government, academics, business, and industry in print and electronic formats, but which is not controlled by commercial publications”.Also, Debaucher (1995) opines that “collectively, the term covers an extensive range of materials that cannot be found easily through conventional channels such as publishers, but which is frequently original and usually recent”.
Hurtle (1991) also, defines grey literature as “the quasi-printed reports, unpublished but circulated papers, unpublished proceedings of conferences, printed programmer from conferences, and other non-unique materials which seem to constitute the bulk of our modern manuscript collection”. In general, grey literature publications are unconventional, fugitive, and sometimes ephemeral publications.They may include, but are not restricted to reports (preprints, preliminary progress, and advanced reports, technical reports, statistical reports, memoranda, state of the art reports, market research reports, etc), theses, conference proceedings, technical specifications and standards, non-commercial translations, bibliographies, technical and commercial documentation, and official documents not published commercially (Liberal, 1990). From the understanding of various definitions of grey literature, the acquisition and management of grey literature in African academic libraries become an issue the librarian must exploit.These clarifications are important because they provide guidance to acquisition librarians who need to know what kind of information their users want. The key point here is that since grey literature is not well-covered by conventional book trade channels, the acquisition librarian is faced with such difficulties as to: identify, acquire, process and access these literatures than he conventional literatures. Hence, academic libraries in Africa desiring to use grey literature as a source of information, must be prepared to accept challenges and decide on their collection due to the ever dwindling fund allocation to libraries.
Historically, grey literature is not a new phenomenon of the late јninetieth century, but something considered a genre since at least the sass, particularly in Europe among the scientific circles (Augur, 1989). Grey literature was for many years synonymous with ‘reports literature. ‘ At the turn Of the century, documents evolving out Of research and placement, particularly from the aircraft and aeronautics industries were a very important means of communicating the results of research test (Augur, 1989).However, it was the onslaught of World War Two which had the greatest impact on the report literature, transforming it into a major means of communication. The hallmark of that war was the development of technologicallyadvanced weaponry, from sophisticated tanks to the atomic bomb. These breakthroughs in science made accurate and speedy communications a necessity. The technical report was widely used to disseminate information (White, 1984).
The decades that follow saw the antiquation of staggering amounts of scientific and technological research, which was amassed to improve both military and communication system.According to Augur (1989) “one thing that made grey literature so attractive and attained its importance as a separate medium of communication was because of an initial need for security or confidentiality classification which prevents documents being published in the conventional manner” Presently, grey literature has continued to grow but the acquisition of grey literature is like finding a needle in a haystack, making it a challenge for libraries all over the world.Literature Review The Nature of Grey Literature Grey literature publications are important materials that libraries, especially academic libraries must acquire in order to support research. Although not rigorously peer reviewed, they contribute greatly to national development since they sometimes originate from scholars. Grey literature materials do not have any ISBN or SINS and so cannot be easily tracked down or accessed by a large group of clients except some concerted efforts are made.This explains the reason why it is called grey. Grey is used to connote something that is not clear, wholly, that is efferent.
While literature in this context means publications. This view was strongly supported by Mason (2007) who wrote that the term grey literature brings connotation of bleakness, apathy, indifference and questionable authority to mind. They are not controlled by commercial publishing interests because they are usually issued by government, academia, pressure groups, trade unions, industries etc.Grey literature materials are publications without commercial purpose; articles and information published especially on the Internet, without a commercial purpose or the mediation of a commercial publisher. Generally, they are materials which are not attainable through the conventional channels and not available through normal book selling channels. In defining grey literature, there are some disputes over its borders, but differences Of opinion on which documents may or may not be classified as grey literature are not really significant, as these definitions differ very little in their essence (FILL, 2001).Wood, ( ) defines the literature as “material that is not available through sale”.
For the “Interagency Grey Literature Working Group”, as noted in the Grey Information Functional Plan dated January 18, 995, “Grey literature is domestic or foreign extensive matter that is usually available through specialized channels and that cannot enter the normal channels or publication and distribution systems, nor fall under bibliographic controls or acquisition schemes by book-sellers or subscription agents”.For Curs (1998) grey literature may be obtained publicly, as its content is not conventional and its publication is not firmly controlled, and it is not accessible through the normal distribution channels, which makes it hard to locate and obtain. Moreover, these are documents of many different types naming from unrevised preprints through to documents with very concrete content.Placing,(1 995) asserts that grey literature documents are fleeting and transparent (not seen in publishers’ catalogues, bookshops, libraries, etc. ) that are hard to locate but which, in most cases, contain relevant and important data. It is obvious that the common trait running through these definitions is the fact that grey literature is neither produced by nor distributed through retail channels.These include academic works, pre-prints (understood here as research records distributed among scientists prior to formal publication), ammonites’ reports, commission reports, technical reports, government reports, research reports, travel reports, conference papers, technical standards, dissertations, theses, non-commercial translations, market surveys, news bulletins, company documents, working documents, web sites, virtual discussions, data sets, e-mail and electronic simulations (Altimeter, 2000).
Others are memoranda, conference proceedings, technical specifications, bibliographies and maps (Imagery, 2000). Characteristics of Grey Literature 1. Not primarily produced for commercial publications 2. Production as a means of getting a message across rather than publishing as a commercial venture (for project or otherwise) 3. Difficult to acquire 4. Not part of a major distribution channels 5. Few, if any bibliographic controls e.
G. Lack of ISBN or SINS 6. Not peer reviewed 7. Transient or ephemeral in nature 8.Difficult to find because historically, it is not included in commercial abstracting and indexing database Importance of Grey Literature Grey literature has emerged in scope and importance in recent years due to the proliferation of critical information now readily available to organize from -publishing ventures. Grey literature is an important source of information. It can often be produced more quickly as it has greater flexibility.
It serves scholars and lay readers alike with research summaries, facts, statistics, and other data that offer a more comprehensive view of the topic interest.In future, grey literature will be more important. In a world in which free trade and instantaneous communication have eliminated many of the barriers to information flow, grey literature is gaining greater importance as a source of information for much of the world’s population. The following are some of he importance of grey literature publications as postulated by Souls and Ryan, (1999) It can provide information that is often unavailable in published open sources It is often available on more timely basis than conventional literature.Conference papers, for example, are available long before any follow-up, published article will appear, yet the information content of the two versions may not differ significantly. It can corroborate important assertions found in other sources, which is always paramount in intelligence analysis. It may have a concise, focused, and detailed content.
This is particularly true f technical reports and unofficial government documents, whose information content will be greatly reduced in the published form.The literature is always free, relevant and unique. It is becoming a common means of information exchange, particularly as personal publishing software improves and Internet access expands. Generally, grey literature is the main source of indigenous information, therefore, it is very relevant in carrying out researches that are home based. Lecturers, researchers and students in universities rely heavily on these literature materials like theses, projects, and conference papers, in order to main first hand information on topics under study.Other benefits are that, grey literature is more likely to report studies that ceased prematurely, as well as innovative pilot projects Grey Literature and Academic Libraries in Africa The grey literature documents in Africa are mostly produced in limited numbers, and have limited circulation even within the institutions where they are produced. The situation is made worse by the fact that grey literature on the continent is inadequately documented and there is a general absence of national or regional bibliographic databases that can be accessed to find out he grey literature that exists on the continent and where to access it.
Chickens, 2006). Where the databases exist, it is usually very difficult to get access to the actual documents unless one visits the institutions where the documents were produced. There is also lack of capacity, both human and institutional, for managing grey literature which increasingly is being generated in digital format. The result is that much of the grey literature being generated in research institutes is not being shared and in most cases the results of scientific and technological research are not being developed rather beyond field and laboratory research.Very useful and valuable technological and scientific information and knowledge remains unexploited and in some cases is lost. The phenomenal advances in research and learning, relatively small and fragile publishing sector, recurring shortages of conventional publications, and persistent shortfalls in library acquisitions budgets have, in recent times, brought to the fore, the significance of grey literature in supporting ongoing initiatives aimed at improving living standards in developing nations (Musical, 2001).Following the first international conference on grey literature held in Amsterdam in December 1993, several articles on the subject have appeared.
In particular, Gestures and Debaucher address the problems of obtaining grey literature and allude to possible models emanating from Sierra Leone, Sudan, Benign, Lesotho, Senegal, Botswana, Zanzibar and Tanzania. Ata general level, the adaptation Of appropriate knowledge from the global information market place is, among other things, advocated to help meet information needs in African academic libraries. Related works deal with the positive impact of theWorld Wide Web (WWW) on the acquisition, control and provision of grey literature in academic libraries. The main arguments advanced being that: the Internet has great potential as a source of grey literature; grey literature is benefiting from the increase in self publishing via the WWW and enhanced access through direct online distribution; and, because an increasing mass of Internet documents, mainly grey literature, is available to a growing number Of users especially in developed nations like the European Union (ELI), the concept of grey literature no longer applies.Evidently, the grey literature debate on African experiences focuses on a limited number of countries while the discussion on the impact of the WWW is mainly based on the experiences of developed nations. Not much is documented about the situation in many other developing nations of Africa. Historically, many academic libraries in Africa have shown little or no interest on grey literature for a variety of reasons.
When attention has been paid, academic concerns about collection development and grey literature tend to focus on external collections from industries or agencies and, more often than not, these collections are oriented to a particular subject or discipline. One reason, even within the world of libraries, for these varied responses, is that, this is not a subject generally dealt with in formal library training. Excellent cases have been made for the inclusion of this area in Library and Information Science curriculum, but have not seen its explicit integration to date (Nina, 1998).In university libraries, many categories of subjects, independent grey literature materials are collected; they are not just thought of as being ‘grey’. For example, student theses and dissertations are collected, as well as quite a lot of government documents. Scholarly conference proceedings in subject areas of interest are also collected, and when looking at the academic environment in aggregate, it would not be surprising to find that better than 95% of these are held in college and university libraries. (Siegel, 2004).
Many professional society publications are also technically considered ‘grey’ under the present definition. Libraries, however, would rarely make this distinction. These are just several examples of things that most academic libraries think of as just the normal literature that needs collecting and it does not tend to be seen as ‘special’. Other types of scholarly grey literature include that which is produced as a result of scholarly study or inquiry, but which is not published through the traditional channels of books or journals (commercial or society).Since it receives limited distribution, it is often not given an opportunity for wider dissemination through traditional bibliographic treatment (that is collection, cataloguing and inter-library lending). However, this material does on occasion get cited in scholarly works. This, in turn, leads subsequent researchers down the very frustrating and often futile path of location and procurement.
Identification and Acquisition of Grey Literature With regard to identification and acquisition, the so called grey literature is an intermediate between published and unpublished works.Grey literature is published literature, but it is not published by commercial publishers. The publishers can be individuals, a company, a government institution, a research institute, or a foundation. As a general rule, non-commercial publishers are not members of a publishers’ association. By definition there are multiple copies and the work is not rare – at least not in the beginning of the publishing process. The context of the text, the book with its binding, title page etc. , will normally stay with the text.
Because the author, as a rule is mentioned somewhere and because the context stays intact, the risk of losing this information is smaller than in unpublished works. But the non- commercial publisher is quite hard to find. The publications themselves often do not give any clues where to find the publisher. This means that a diligent search again is more time consuming, because the search for the publisher is more difficult. The collecting society might know the author, but it is likely that smaller percentage of authors of grey literature are represented by collecting societies than authors of commercially published books.The Internet has improved the visibility of grey literature through search engines and visitation of websites such as womb. Circus.
Com, www. Science. Gob, www. Sots. Gob/grab, etc. The Internet and electronic access to materials have improved the visibility and accessibility of grey literature in Africa. Grey literature comes in varying shades: relative and subjective.
What one library/ librarian considers being grey, another may not. Collection Development Policies Opinions vary about the utility of collection development policies with some contending that they quickly become inflexible and outdated (Snow, 1996).Most people see collection policies as devices that help libraries target resources perceived to be useful to their parent institutions (Inter, 1996; Lee, 2003; Mack, 2003 and Spooler, 2003). To the inexperienced librarian or one taking over a new subject area, collection development policies can be lifelines while gaining familiarity with a discipline and its local audience. Collection policies traditionally address grey literature tangentially. They scribe sources (e. G.
Societies, government), and formats (e. G. Reports, proceedings).They may give geographic scope and language limitations that direct a selector away from Some sources and towards others. In general, collection policy statement literature focuses on acquisition decisions involving expenditures, neglecting the plethora of free, digital grey literature. The policies also address the selection criteria of the prospective literature. Grey literature materials are selected according to the same criteria as any other item: relevant to the subject and demand by the academic users.
Outside of relevance as a criterion, knowing that an item could be catalogued is the second highest factor affecting selection.Acquisitions Process Acquisition, organization and maintenance of grey literature are one of the toughest tasks for librarians in Africa. The tracing of these micro documents need the subject expertise on the part of librarians and other library staff. Documentation work has highlighted the importance of these documents and the digital technology facilitating their availability nationally and internationally (Tell, 2006). Before librarians can acquire grey literature, they just identify them and locate a source of supply for them.Thus, finding out about the publication is the first and most basic step in the acquisition process, and perhaps the most difficult where grey literature is concerned, for by definitions, it does not receive coverage in the usual places where librarians learn about new books, like the publishing trade press or bibliographic listing (Barite,). In searching for grey literature, the acquisition librarian scan daily newspapers, looking for report on conference, seminars and workshops etc.
Which may publish proceedings or issue papers and reports.Traditionally, the news media is a vital source Of information on this events, as well as monitoring published sources like Journals, Newsletters and Accession list. Reaching other academic institutions and private contacts is invaluable in monitoring new literature or ephemeral publication. In the academic setting like Africa, word of mouth is an important way of learning about a new publication or report or project which may generate publication. Making contact with academic world, researchers, project workers (including post graduate students) and librarians are important to stay in contact to these materials.Finally, an important attribute of any acquisition librarian is a strong sense of curiosity and a willingness to ask questions which is a very important way of finding out about new publication on grey literature. Methods of Acquisition Purchase: This is done through a vendor who goes round to source for conference proceedings, bulletins and other grey literature materials which are relevant to the university curriculum/research.
Gifts: Corporate bodies and individuals who are friends Of the academic libraries send their publication to the library.This has helped a lot to boost the grey literature collection of the library. Legal Deposit: The major avenue for the collection of grey literature publication in the library is through legal deposit. Students/researchers are mandated to drop the hard and soft copies of their theses and dissertations in the university libraries. Also, papers presented at the departmental seminar, public lectures delivered in the academic environment and conference proceedings of conferences held in the institution are all deposited in the library.Subscription: acquisition librarians subscribe to subscription agents who collect grey literature either in digital format or print copies. This can also be done through the Internet either free or premium subscription.
Resource Sharing: libraries engage in resource sharing through the formation of a library consortium. Here, the academic library can go into agreement with other institutions for the purpose of sharing or exchanging grey literature emanating from the participating institutions. The current trend for sourcing grey literature materials is through the use of information technology (IT).Most information professionals have come to set up a listserv that enables them exchange information in grey form through file attachments. Also, academic libraries have formed electronic groups that enable them share and know about the existence of grey literature materials. Online Search: Internet search is another way of collecting grey literature. This is because transitory and invisible materials on the web are obviously grey and the Internet provides access to materials.
Therefore, a librarian can search for relevant literature which can meet the needs of the users.Generally, the librarian can make contacts with publishers, institutions, and organization where grey literature emanates through telephone, fax, email, utter, and subscription. Management of Grey Literature The management of grey literature through cataloguing, maintenance and preservation is a core issue to be considered on library to library basis in Africa. Although, it would appear that special libraries are primarily concerned with this literature, but academic libraries will have their share, depending on their academic scope.It is imperative for libraries to catalogue and create access to this literature unlike the small libraries that may not catalogue at all but choose to file them in a pamphlet or vertical collection (Augur, 1989). Anglo American Cataloguing Rules 2 is available, which specifies how to catalogue under corporate body if possible. In managing grey literature materials in the library, all the routine procedures in processing library materials are followed.
This implies that they have to be stamped, accessioned, catalogued and classified.However, with regards to the nature Of this literature, they are expected to be filed on separate shelves to enhance greater accessibility and retrieval process. According to Salable (2007), in some African academic libraries like that of Malawi, efforts aimed at managing grey literature is through digitization so as to: eave the information accessible widely increase local content available online preserve/save the documents In a more positive outlook, one cannot disregard that those who are charged with the tasks of acquisition and cataloguing will tend to see it more as a problem.