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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Saur May 29, 2014

Mainstreaming Grey Literature in Research Library Collections in Kenya

  • Tom Kwanya EMAIL logo , Christine Stilwell and Peter Underwood
From the journal Libri


Grey literature can be perceived as the unpublished content produced by academic, research, public and private institutions. Grey literature comprises newsletters, reports, working papers, theses, government documents, bulletins, fact sheets, conference proceedings, minutes, PowerPoint presentations and other publications which are generally produced for internal, localised and short-term purposes. The available evidence indicates that grey literature is steadily becoming an important source of research information. There is consensus amongst researchers that grey literature provides glimpses of research trends even before the formal publication of results. Grey literature also provides background information such as statistics, facts, overviews and research summaries which are important for new or ongoing research projects. Most researchers also agree that grey literature complements scientific sources (e.g. journals) in the provision of research information. In spite of its growing value, most research libraries in Kenya do not have strategies to manage grey literature effectively. This article explores the current status of grey literature in research libraries in Kenya. This study used an interpretive qualitative case study approach to collect data from researchers and librarians drawn from five national and international research institutions in Kenya. Data was collected through interviews, focus group discussions, documentary analysis and social network analysis. Data analysis was done through content analysis, conversation analysis and Heideggarian hermeneutics. Reliability and validity of the results was ensured through effective sampling and pre-testing of data collection techniques and instruments. The study found that most of grey literature generated or collected by research libraries in Kenya tends to be lost as soon as its short-term purposes are served. The authors propose strategies that research libraries in Kenya can use to mainstream grey literature in their collections and enhance access to it and use of it.

Published Online: 2014-5-29
Published in Print: 2014-5-30

© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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