Library Research Guide
Grey literature (also spelled gray literature) is literature that is not available through the usual bibliographic sources such as databases or indexes. It can be both in print and, increasingly, electronic formats. Gray literature is produced by government agencies, universities, corporations, research centers, associations and societies, and professional organizations.
|Fact Sheets||Government Documents||Committee Reports||Public Policy Reports|
|Standards||Technical Documentation||Bulletins||White papers|
|Patents||Technical Reports||Symposia||Working papers|
|Business documents||Conference proceedings||Pre-prints||Unpublished works|
White papers is the term commonly applied to publications in business and industry, usually featuring research or detailed product reports.
The two terms, grey literature and white papers, are sometimes used interchangeably. Common features include:
1. If the title of the report is known (you've seen it in a bibliography or a press release), Google the title. Often, placing the title in quotation marks increases the likelihood that the report you want will rise to the top of your search results.
2. If you know what organization issued the white report, but don't know the exact title, Google the topic of the report and the organization's name. OR do a site search in Google. Use this syntax to perform a site search using Google:
site:companywebsite.com report topic
1. Many reports are published as PDFs, adding PDF to your Google search can narrow your results to these reports.
2. Professional organizations may produce white papers on trending issues for their members.
These websites collect or link to white papers on specific topics.
White papers are a valuable source of industry and public policy information. However, you must approach the information in the reports as critically as you would other sources of information. When reading a white paper, try to identify the following pieces of information and ask yourself how that could impact the relevance and accuracy of the report.