Grey Lit 101: Shining a White Light on Grey Literature

Date: Tuesday, April 5, 2011 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. (EDT)
Course Level: 101
Faculty: Amanda Hodgson, M.L.I.S., Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH); Sarah McGill, B.Sc., M.L.I.S., Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH)Duration: 60 min.

Overview: This free Web conference provided an introduction to grey literature and its role in health services research, public policy, and critical decision making. Far from implying value, the term grey literature refers to the often undefined and unrestricted way this information is published. This session covered:

  • What is grey literature? Are current definitions and assumptions about grey literature accurate and appropriate?
  • Why is grey literature important? What is its short-term and long-run added value?
  • What are key grey literature resources for health professionals and health services researchers?
  • How would search tactics for grey literature differ for rapid reviews, systematic reviews, and health technology assessments?

Grey Lit 102: Advanced Search Strategies for Grey Literature

Date: Thursday, April 7, 2011 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. (EDT) 
Course Level: 101
Faculty: Melissa Ratajeski, M.L.I.S., R.L.A.T.,  University of Pittsburgh; Ahlam Saleh, M.D., M.L.S., University of Pittsburgh
Duration: 60 min.

Overview:  This free Web conference (the "consumer's" perspective) discussed the challenges inherent in conducting advanced searches for grey literature and presents tactics for overcoming these challenges. Participants in this session learned:

  • Who are the major users of grey literature, and why?
  • What are best practices for searching and incorporating grey literature evidence into larger research efforts?
  • Is it possible to systematically review grey literature (why or why not)?
  • Are there critical assumptions or search parameters that can target a search and efficiently find desired evidence?

Grey Lit 103: Standing Out in a Sea of Grey Literature

Date: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m. (EDT) 
ourse Level: 101
Faculty: Marcus Banks M.L.I.S., Samuel Merritt University; Dean Giustini, M.L.S., M.Ed., Diamond Health Care Centre and Vancouver Hospital
Duration: 60 min.

Overview: This free Web conference (the "producer's" perspective) outlined how producers of grey literature can optimize their research for searching and increase the likelihood of uptake and use of their work. Participants learned:

  • What grey literature is being produced, and for what purposes?
  • Who are the largest producers, and why?
  • How can we enhance and standardize the perception of rigor in grey literature?
  • In what ways has the electronic publishing "sphere" contributed to the field of grey literature?
  • How is grey literature being archived and how do researchers make their research easy to find?
  • What are the preservation procedures for major producers?

Faculty Information:

Marcus Banks, M.L.I.S., has been the Director of the Library and Academic/Instructional Innovation at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, CA since August 2010. Samuel Merritt offers degrees in nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, physician assistant, and podiatry. He previously served as the manager of the instructional librarians at the University of California San Francisco. His first library position was an an Associate Fellow of the National Library of Medicine, where he became keenly interested in the potential for grey literature to inform public health policymaking. He earned his MLIS from Dominican University in 2002, and a bachelors degree in English from Northwestern University in 1999.


Dean Giustini, M.L.S, M.Ed., is the UBC Biomedical Branch Librarian at Vancouver General Hospital. The Library supports one of the largest medical programs in Canada. He teaches health librarianship and social media at the School of Library, Archival and Information Studies. Both his MLS and MEd degrees are from UBC. He blogs at the Search Principle blog, and maintains HLWIKI Canada where many of his grey literature ideas begin.

Amanda Hodgson, M.L.I.S., is the Manager of Information Services for the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH) and has over 6 years' experience as a health sciences information specialist, presenter and trainer. As the Manager for Information Services at CADTH, Amanda is responsible for coordinating the literature searching requirements for CADTH's Drug Formulary Review program. She is the current Secretary for the Ottawa Valley Health Libraries Association and holds an MLIS from McGill University's Graduate School of Library and Information Studies.

Sarah McGill, B.Sc., M.L.I.S., is an Information Specialist for the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health (CADTH), where she contributes to health technology assessments and systematic reviews for drugs, devices, and other health technologies. Previously, Sarah worked at the Information Centre for Aboriginal Health portal for Aboriginal population health, health career resources, and consumer health. Sarah holds an MLIS from the University of Western Ontario. 


Melissa Ratajeski, M.L.I.S., R.L.A.T., is a reference librarian at the Heath Sciences Library System, University of Pittsburgh and the liaison to the University's Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC), requiring her to complete extensive literature searches as required by the Animal Welfare Act. Melissa is one of the the instructors for the Library's 2 1/2 day Systematic Review Workshop: The Nuts and Bots for Librarians, where her focus is searching for grey literature.  

Ahlam Saleh, M.D., M.L.S.,  is one of the Reference Librarians at the University of Pittsburgh's Health Sciences Library System (HSLS). She is liaison to the School of Pharmacy and provides search support for IACUC protocols. Ahlam has over 5 years experience collaborating with researchers on systematic reviews as a search consultant and is one of the co-instructors for the Library's systematic review workshop.


For more information, please contact AcademyHealth.

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