Grey Literature Management at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) Library, USA: A Macarthur Foundation Grant Research Project

Article excerpt

Introduction

Universities are relied on for education, training and manpower development and research for socio-economic development of any nation. For Universities to meet up with the onerous responsibility, they need to provide strong literature support to the teaching, learning, research and community development activities. The unit of the university responsible for the provision, management and dissemination of information to support the effective and expeditious attainment of the objectives of the university is its library. It is pertinent to state that the increase in the volume of literature in the library collection has been occurring at an exponential rate in this information age century. Nevertheless, many University Libraries globally are beset with dearth of information resources especially in the professions and local content. This is due to the fact that in the field of librarianship and information science generally, there has been an out cry for literatures in quest of people utilitarian. While relief has come to some of the libraries through computerization and internet connectivity, there is still the pressing need to more effectively manage Grey Literature for higher education and research as they are often not accessible on the web.

Grey literature(GL) is from a broader term ephemera which is defined as a collective name given to material which carries a verbal or illustrative processes, but not in the standard book, pamphlet or periodical format (Makepeace,1985). Examples of ephamera are calendars, clippings, company reports, guides, information leaflets, menus, newsletters, newspapers, press release, and society ephemera. The acceptance of the collective term GL dates to the York Seminar of 1978 (Gibb G.M and Philip E.1989), which was a milestone in its development. It was clearly recognized that GL was in fact, a primary information source, the seminar resulted in the creation of the System for Information on Grey Literature in Europe (SIGLE)database, which was initially supported by the European Economic Community (EEC) and is now managed by the European Association for Grey Literature.

There are divergence of opinion regarding to the definition of GL. Moahi (1995) defined Grey Literature as "material that is not commercially published and therefore not to be found in the normal channels associated with commercially published literature". Grey Literature includes research reports, reports of meetings, conferences, seminars and workshops, students' projects, theses and dissertations, in-house publications of associations and organizations and all forms of government publications including legislative materials, budgets and development plans. Augur (1989), citing Debachere defined Grey Literature as a term used variably by the intelligence community, librarians, and medical and research professionals to refer to a body of materials that cannot be found easily through conventional channels such as publishers, but which is frequently original and usually recent.

Library of Congress subject Headings (LCSH) defined GL as "reports, thesis, conference papers, translations of limited circulation and government documents. Wood (1984) cited in Kwafo-Akolo(1995)described GL as "the material which is not available through the normal book selling. Sala(1995) describes GL as the documents that are not available through the conventional commercial distribution channels and therefore difficult to identify and obtain. The Russian National Public Library for science and technology views GL as a publications of limited circulation(under 1500 copies) issued by minor publishing houses that is hardly accessible.

In summary GL can be referred to as unpopular but precious semi published information materials with very limited circulation which are not usually accessible through the normal commercial book channels such as publishers catalogue and book shops.

Grey materials have a tremendous benefit not only to the users and authoritarian organizations, but also to the society at large. …