Grey literature strateiges presenting at the ALIA National Conference Sept 2014

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We are pleased to report that the ALIA National Conference organising committee has accepted a submission to present at paper on the findings of the Grey Literature Strategies project at the 2014 conference to be held in Melbourne 15 - 19 September. 

The paper, to be presented by Amanda Lawrence, will on "The role and value of digital grey literature for collecting organisation".

This is the abstract that was submitted. It will be updated closer to the date as the paper is finalised.


The role and value of digital grey literature for collecting organisation

Digital technologies have radically increased our capacity to produce and disseminate research and information and many organisations including government departments and agencies, academic centres, NGOs, lobby groups and companies are now engaged in the production and collection of digital content – also known as grey literature. The result has been an explosion in the publication of reports, discussion papers, working papers and many other kinds of grey literature on the internet, transforming the way in which the community is able to access research and information. Yet the rapid pace of change has meant that there is little understanding of the role and value of this material and as a result we still lack appropriate infrastructure, policies and procedures, copyright legislation and resources to adequately manage this digital deluge.

This paper explores the role of grey literature in public policy and practice in Australia based on the results of the Grey Literature Strategies research project, an ARC Linkage project being undertaken by Swinburne University and Victoria University in partnership with the National Library of Australia, the National and State Libraries Australasia (NSLA), the Australian Council for Educational Research and the Eidos Institute. The paper will present the findings from three online surveys conducted in 2013 of users, producers and collectors of research and information as well as interviews conducted with librarians, researchers and producing organisations. The paper will focus on the data from collecting organisations and other relevant results for the library community and will discuss the way in which libraries are both succeeding and still struggling in their approach to digital content. Topics that will be discussed include: the content users and collecting organisations consider most important; how users find and access content; views on copyright reform; strategies for dealing with deadlinks; selection and evaluation of digital content; contingent valuation and cost benefit analysis of grey literature.

Our conclusion is that grey literature plays a vital role in the policy and research environment, equal or greater than that of journals and books, but its collection and preservation is inadequate, resulting in costly research being lost to the community. This issue is particularly relevant to special libraries which are often at the interface between researchers, policy makers and practitioners and need to find new ways to respond to these changing priorities. The paper will consider some of the policy and infrastructure options for improving the way digital grey literature is collected and made accessible and seek feedback from the audience on recommendations for the final report due out in early 2015.