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Section 1: Grey Literature Explored

1.9 Overview

Grey literature encompasses a range of documentation and is synonymous with reports literature, it is produced by a range of organisations within a variety of disciplines. Traditionally produced in hard copy format, it is favoured for its flexibility, ease of production and relatively low cost, allowing for immediate dissemination of results, albeit to a minority audience.

Within archaeology, such literature is mainly produced as a result of planning-led projects in response to development. Although reports are 'born digital', they are printed in hard copy format, for limited distribution by post. The electronic document is largely seen as a by-product of this process, with little or no concern for its long-term preservation or dissemination. The quantity of grey literature has increased dramatically since 1990 and continues to do so every year, yet there is limited awareness of this literature within the profession despite it being the predominant source of information about new archaeological discoveries.

There are increasing concerns about the 'research gap', that there is a lack of synthesis and peer review, and that important data are not being fed back into the research cycle. Without this, there are limitations to the furtherance of knowledge and understanding of the archaeological resource. The emergence of electronic methods of publication and dissemination is seen to be a great opportunity to enhance awareness and promote the availability of this material, and this will be further explored in the following sections.

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Last updated: Wed Apr 6 2005