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Health Information Science 530 - Evidence Based Health Informatics

What is Gray Literature?

"Information produced on all levels of government, academia, 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

"Gray literature...refers to informally published written material (such as reports) that may be difficult to trace via conventional channels such as published journals and monographs because it is not published commercially or is not widely accessible." - Wikipedia definition of "grey/gray literature"

Types of grey literature include web 2.0 communication channels, ePrints, preprints, post prints, email, texts, listserv archives, wiki articles, images, theses, dissertations, conference proceedings and abstracts, clinical trials and practice guidelines, technical reports, standards, patents, newsletters, videos, etc.

So How Do I Find Gray Literature?

Finding grey literature can be difficult and require exhaustive searching. Since grey literature is not included in bibliographic databases, it requires different search techniques in order to find information relevent to your topic of interest. The links below offer quick introductions and tutorials, but a librarian is always a great place to start!

Resources for Finding Grey (Gray) Literature N-Z

  • National Institute of Medicine IHM
    Images from the History of Medicine (IHM) provides access to over 70,000 images in the collections of the History of Medicine Division (HMD) of the National Library of Medicine (NLM). The collection includes portraits, photographs, caricatures, genre scenes, posters, and graphic art illustrating the social and historical aspects of medicine dated from the 15th to 21st century.

  • NIH RePORT Searchable Public Databases
    A directory of searchable public databases provided by the National Institute of Health (NIH). Links to RePORTER, NIDB Resources, NCBI Literature Databases, PubMedCentral, PubMed (Medline), Research.gov, Community of Science, Science.gov, World Wide Science and ClinicalTrials.gov are available.

  • OAIster
    OAIster is a union catalog of millions of records representing open access resources that was built by harvesting from open access collections worldwide using the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). OAIster includes more than 25 million records representing digital resources from more that 1,100 contributors.

  • OpenSIGLE (OpenGrey)
    System for Information on Grey Literature in Europe, is your open access to 700,000 bibliographical references of grey literature (paper) produced in Europe and allows you to export records and locate the documents. 

  • Public Health Image Library (PHIL)
    From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Public Health Image Library (PHIL) provides access to photographs, illustrations and multimedia files relevant to public health and health care.

  • Public Health Partners
    Helping the public health workforce find and use information effectively to improve and protect the public's health.

  • Science.gov
    Science.gov searches over 55 databases and over 2,100 selected websites from 13 federal agencies, offering 200 million pages of authoritative U.S. government science information including research and development results. Science.gov is governed by the interagency Science.gov Alliance.

  • Science Accelerator
    Science Accelerator is a gateway to science, including R&D results, project descriptions, accomplishments, and more.

  • Scirus
    Scirus is the most comprehensive scientific research tool on the web. With over 575 million scientific terms indexed at last count, it allows researchers to search for not only journal content but also scientists' homepages, courseware, pre-print server material, patents and institutional repository and website information. 

  • SHERPA (UK)
    A UK based open-access institutional repository.

  • TRIP Database
    Trip is a clinical search engine designed to allow users to quickly and easily find and use high-quality research evidence to support their practice and/or care. Includes images, videos, patient information leaflets, educational courses and news. 

  • United Nations Official Documents System
    ODS provides access to the resolutions of the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, and Trusteeship Council from 1946 onwards. ODS includes pre-session, in-session and post-session documentation ofr the General Assembly and its subsidiary bodies; the Security Council and its subsidiary bodies; the Economic and Social Council and its subsidiary bodies; and the Trusteeship Council; and for global conferences convened by the UN, as well as for meetings included in the Calendar of Conferences and Meetings authorized by the General Assembly.

  • U.S. Food & Drug Administrtaion (FDA)
    FDA for Science & Research provides access to clinical trials, product development, and R&D.

  • USAID Development Experience Clearinghouse
    Search a half-century of U.S. international aid records. Use advanced search to narrow your results.

  • VA Technology Assessment Program (VATAP)
    A listing of Health Technology Assessment Reports and Summaries from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs Technology Assessment Program.

  • Virtual Health Library
    A repository of scientific information and knowledge focused on South America and the Caribbean, supported by BIREME, PAHO, & WHO.

  • WHOLIS
    WHO publications collection and international health literature.



    Feel free to suggest other gray/grey literature resources that you would like to see on this database page.

Resources for Finding Reports and Reviews

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