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Grey Literature: Tools for finding grey literature

Tools for finding grey literature

There is a variety of tools that can be used to find grey literature:

  • Library catalogues can include a variety of publications which are held by a library. QMU library catalogue, like any library catalogue, can be searched by keyword, author, title, subjects or a combination of some of these.  Library Hub Discover is a tool that searches resources in UK and Irish academic, national & specialist libraries while WorldCat searches the collections of thousands of libraries worldwide. 
  • Databases. In addition to the usual journal articles, many databases contain other types of publication such as trade publications, statistics, conference proceedings, news, official publications, market research, annual reports, research reports, etc. To access these, most databases offer you the facility to select the type of publication or source type when viewing your search results. Make sure you include those that are relevant to you. For a full list of our databases, see our Databases A-Z  or go to your QMU Library Guides to find relevant databases for a specific subject.
  • Institutional repositories are specific to each Higher Education institution and can contain raw data, theses, dissertations, research reports, pre-prints, post-prints etc. The QMU Repository is one example however the use of individual repositories has its limits hence open access aggregators which bring data from many repositories from around the world are a good alternative:  BASECOREUnpaywall (a free database of open access scholarly articles, with an API and browser extension). The Digital Commons Network aggregates by discipline some 500 institutional repositories with millions research papers.
  • Organisational websites can include government, NGO, companies, mass media, research and professional bodies, international organisations and they are sources for annual reports, market reports, legislation, statistics, speeches, working papers, discussion papers, policy statements, government reports, etc. Look for sections such as Library, Research, Publications or Reports. It might be more efficient to search those sections if there is a lot published and there is a search box provided.
  • Internet search engines: these will help you find grey literature in all forms including social media, news resources, TV, radio, podcasts presentations, email lists etc. 
  • The Internet Archive Wayback Machine can find information posted on a website in the past which is no longer available.  Enter a URL address to check if earlier versions of that page were captured on a particular date.  Click on a date to view the site as it appeared then.

The above resources and more are listed in the Sources of grey literature tab.