"Information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing, i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body" -ICGL Luxembourg definition, 1997-expanded in New York, 2004
Grey literature can be hard to find or irretrievable for a number of reasons because it is:
not widely disseminated - e.g. conference proceedings, institutional working papers, theses
A lot of grey literature is available on what is called the Invisible, Hidden or Deep Web.
These are terms used to describe all of the information available on the World Wide Web that cannot be found by using general-purpose search engines (Devine & Egger-Sider, 2009).
Reasons why this content can't be found include:
Search engines can't reach it - it may be behind a paywall or firewall, or the site may have blocked search engine's webbots that index information on the web.
For example, most library databases are part of the invisible web as they are only accessible to staff and students who have logged into the library's subscription access.
The content can't be read by search engine's webbots - for example files, videos, audio files or pictures without metadata written in html, which is what webbots read.
Content is not linked from anywhere else or must be accessed by a separate search interface that search engines can't read.
We acknowledge the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of the nation and acknowledge Traditional Owners of the lands where our staff and students, live, learn and work.
Except where otherwise noted, this work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA) 4.0 International License. Content from this Guide should be attributed to James Cook University Library. This does not apply to images, third party material (seek permission from the original owner) or any logos or insignia belonging to JCU or other bodies, which remain All Rights Reserved.