Challenges Of Selection And Acquisition Of Grey Literature

Project and Seminar Material for Library and Information Science

Challenges Of Selection And Acquisition Of Grey Literature


Most librarians has been selecting and acquiring library materials, including the unpublished literatures without knowing the terms generally used for them.

This research project therefore has been carried out to create awareness to some librarians and staff of the library on what we called “grey literature”. This term is not familiar with most librarians but this project will educated them on the term.

The research work (project) is based on the polytechnics requirement of the award of Higher National Diploma (HND), it is therefore critically examined and carefully studied the above topic.

This project covers all one needs to know about grey literature, its meaning, its characteristics, advantages and role, its types, its acquisition channels, its cataloguing procedure, and challenges encountered in its acquisition.
Librarianship students will also find this work very useful because it will help to widen their knowledge horizon in using library terms.

Mbanefo Seraphine .C.
JULY, 2008.

Table of Content

  • Title page
  • Certification page
  • Dedication
  • Acknowledgment
  • Abstract

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

  • 1.1 Background of the study
  • 1.2 Historical background of the two schools under study
  • 1.2.1 Background information on FUTO library
  • 1.2.2 Background information on IMSU library
  • 1.3 Statement of problem
  • 1.4 Scope / Limitation of the study
  • 1.5 Objective of the study
  • 1.6 Research questions
  • 1.7 Aims / purpose of the study
  • 1.8 Significance of the study
  • 1.9 Definitions of terms
  • References

Chapter Two

2.0 Literature Review

  • 2.1 What is grey literature
  • 2.2 The characteristics of grey literature
  • 2.3 Advantages and Role of grey literature
  • 2.4 The future of grey literature
  • 2.5 Types of grey literatures
  • 2.6 Channels of acquisition of grey literature
  • 2.7 Cataloguing and maintenance of grey literature
  • 2.8 The challenges of selection and acquisition of grey of grey literature in libraries
  • 2.9 Recommendations / conclusion

Chapter Three

3.0 Research Methodology

  • 3.1 Research design
  • 3.2 Population of study
  • 3.3 Sample and sampling techniques
  • 3.4 Instrument for data collection
  • 3.4.1 Questionnaire method
  • 3.4.2 Interview method
  • 3.5 Validation of instruments
  • 3.6 Method of Data analysis
  • 3.7 Sources of data

Chapter Four

4.0 Data Presentation and Analysis

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary of Findings, Conclusion and Recommendation

  • 5.1 Summary of findings
  • 5.2 Conclusions
  • 5.3 Recommendations
  • Bibliographies
  • Appendix I
  • Appendix II

Chapter One

1.0 Introduction

1.1 Background of the Study

Selection and acquisition are terms used in provision of library materials.

Selection is the process of choosing while acquisition is the process of obtaining library materials (Anyanwu, et al, 2006) selection must precede acquisition, what to select depends on the type of library since the library is interested in serving primarily its clientese which could be homogenous or heterogeneous (Oduagwu, 2002). Book selection is used as a generic term covering the selection of both book and non-book materials for library.

Acquisition on the other hand is a process of obtaining books and other items for the library, documentation centre, or archives (Harrods, 2000). Acquisition is carried out through purchase, gift, exchange and legal deposit.
Provision of current information which supports the curriculum of the parent institution is as a result of selection and acquisition in the academic libraries.

The following factors are considered in selecting materials for academic libraries,

  1. Aims and objective of the institution
  2. The number of faculty members
  3. The number of departments / subjects areas
  4. Research and teaching needs
  5. The nature of materials required in terms of book and non-book.

There is a specific library acquisition policy which specify the type and range of items to be selected and acquired. The purpose of the acquisition policy is to serve as a reference for the library staff to follow when assessing potential acquisition for the library collections including print and non-print materials, electronic and other type of resources. The mission of the acquisition policy is to ensure that the selection of library resources supports the educational need of the students, administrations and staff of the institution.

Anyanwum et al, 2006 Started that selection is of very important because of literature explosion, reduction in library budget, reduction in income of library users and pressure from the both the publishers and the library users.
Grey literature is one of the materials selected and acquired in Libraries.

Grey literature is defined as…”information produced on all levels of government, academia, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing” i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity of the producing body”

M. C. Debachere has written that it is easier to describe, rather than define grey literature. Collectively, the term covers an extensive range of materials that can be found easily through conventional channels such as publishers, “but which frequently is original and usually recent”

Peter Hirtle in Broadsides Vs. Grey literature defines is as: The quasi-printed reports, unpublished but circulated papers, unpublished proceedings of conferences, printed programs from conferences and other non-unique materials which seems to constitute the bulk of our modern manuscript collections (Hirtle, 1991). Dissertations also make up an important part of grey literature, as well as meeting papers” or preprints that are given out before conferences and meetings, and they could end up as journal articles (Augur 1989, 63).

Grey literature is of paramount importance in the library because, it serves scholars and lay readers alike with research summaries, facts, statistics, and other data that after a more comprehensive view of the topic of interest.
In all, selection and acquisition of grey literature in libraries therefore, is the process of choosing and obtaining this kind of literature in libraries.

1.2 Historical Background of the Two Schools Under Study

1.2.1 Background Information on Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) Library.

According to the FUTO library guide and regulations, the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) library was initially located at lake Nwaebere campus as a temporary site while the permanent library was under construction at Ihiagwa. The preparatory work for the library began in June 1981 with J. C. Anafulu as the pioneer University Librarian. A classroom block was selected and converted into a make-shift library.

It was filled with shelves for ten (10) thousand volumes of library materials. Other members of the professional staff joined in October to prepare for the opening on the 19th November 1981. at the time of the opening, approximately 2,500 volumes were on the shelves. However, the importance of journals to the science and technology oriented University community was re-organised at an early stage and a list of about 600 tittles were ordered for.

In the month of May, 1982, the reserved collections was introduced, the total volume of books held by the library reached six thousands (600), and borrowing privileges were then extended to students. After two years of operating in classroom blocks, the University library was moved to a permanent building in the first week of September, 1983. the building was modified to meet the requirements of a growing university library.

On the 17th of May, 1983, the Library moved along with the university to its permanent site. On arrival, the pilot plant house of the school of science was immediately converted to a library. In no time it was realised that the building was too small to accommodate the ever-increasing stock, staff and library users. As such, the library moved partly to the library phase IV in 1995, thereby making available two library building fo use: Pilot plant and phase IV library building. The Pilot Plant Library building.

The pilot plant library was left within serials section, technical section for catalogue and classification, acquisition section, the information technology unit, documentation and Archives section. The pilot plant library is regarded as reference library s no borrowing is done there. The library phase IV which was originally intended to be a reading room is centrally situated at a convenient distance from the Hostels. The organogram of the library materials is situated at the entrance to the Library. The library has seating capacity of about 500.

There are various types of materials in the university library which are separated into six collections. These are the reference the loans, the reserve and the serial collections. They also include documentation / Achieves and information technology collections.

A breakdown of the section to date is shown as follows:

  • Books 60,000
  • Bound periodicals 4,850
  • Documents 3,200
  • Maps 948
  • Total of all formats 68,670

(Excluding current periodicals)

  • Current periodicals 41
  • Library serials holdings 1,184
  • CD-ROM collection 64
  • EBSCO database (CDROM) 50
1.2.2 Background Information on Imo State University (IMSU) Library

Imo state university library, Owerri is as old as its institution which was establish in 1981, following a law passed on the 13th of April 1981, by the Imo State House of Assembly during the Mbakwe’s Administration. The school was officially opened in two campuses, i.e. Aba and Etiti in October 1982.

The school was later moved to Okigwe by the then Military Administratrion, major General Ike Nwachukwu (Rtd) but was relocated to Owerri from Okigwe in 1992 as contained in the law establishing the institution.

Imo state university was opened in 1993 at Lake Nwaebere campus before the admissions of students, and Dr. Omonogbo became the first acting Librarian of the university library. Since then the stock has been increasing and it is of note that the library stock has received gifts both in cash and in materials from individuals and European union, British consulates and all activities of the goal of its parent institution.

As stated in the Imo State University library fact sheets, the library system of the school consist of ten libraries;

They are as follows:

  1. The Main library
  2. The Law Library
  3. The college of Medical library
  4. The library of the faculty of Business Administration
  5. The department of the Architectural Library
  6. Social Science Library
  7. Humanities Library
  8. Department of Education Library
  9. Quantity Surveying Library
  10. The Agricultural Library

The activities of all these libraries are co-ordinated from the main library which is the institutional library. This is to enable to provide efficient and effective services to its clients in various faculties and colleges of the institution.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

Selection and acquisition of grey literature has always been problematic. As Charles .P. Augur points out in his book, the core reason for difficulties in identifying and acquiring this kinds of literature are due to its :poor bibliographic information and control, non-professional layout and, low print runs” (Augur 1989,3). The implementation of bibliographic control through ISBN, ISSN and report number has been somewhat helpful, but also disorganized. For instance, reports which makes up the lion’s share of grey literature, do not use ISBN as a rule Instead, reports numbering was intrated as a means to introduce standardisation.

The problem is that, these numbers were designed to include subject matter, date, form, agency, section, additional data and consequently are quite long and confusing.

In addition some categories of this kind of literature do contain security restrictions. M.C Debachere points out that problems arise in libraries when a pation request a particular document and it is not apparent where to begin the search. (Debachere, 1995, 95).

1.4 Scope / Limitation of the Study

This research work is focused on challenges of selection and acquisition of grey literature in libraries. It is extremely difficult to conduct a research of this nature that embraces all libraries in Nigeria, this is because the vital data for such a study will be difficult to come by.

Therefore, to ensure the efficient and effective collection of relevant data, the researcher brought the scope of the study to a more manageable size and will restrict the investigation to only two academic libraries, namely; Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO) and Imo State University (IMSU) libraries both of Owerri. It is natural to encounter problems in a study like this because it’s broader wise.

In as much as time and financial constraint becomes my shortcoming, in terms of transportation and photocopying materials, this research work is limited to internet search and interviews form acquisition librarians of two schools stated above.

1.5 Objectives of the Study

This study is carried to:

  1. Identify the importance of grey literature in libraries.
  2. To find out its selection and acquisition process.
  3. To know the different types of grey literature.
  4. To know what challenges are encounter in acquiring grey literature and how to face them.
  5. To know what constitute the grey literature and who uses them.
  6. To identify the problems of grey literature and their possible solutions.

1.6 Research Question

  1. Is there need for grey literature in the academic libraries?
  2. Does your library select and acquire grey literature?
  3. If it does what kind of grey literature does it acquire?
  4. Does your library encounter any challenges in acquiring the grey literature?
  5. If yes, what challenges does it encounter?
  6. When last did your library acquire the grey literature?

1.7 Aims / Purpose of the Study

The aim of this study is to fulfil the basic requirement for award of National Diploma (HND) in the department of Library and Information Science, Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri.

The purpose of this research work is to contribute to the development of library collection and to make effective tool in grey literature as management tool in an academic library. The study will also add to the literature of librarianship as well as be of immense help to the students, lecturers, librarians, schools and the nation at large.

1.8 Significance of the Study

This study is meant to provide assistance to those in scholarly environments wishing to extend their research capabilities. This study will also save the scholars and lay readers alike with research summaries, facts, and other data that offer more comprehensive view of their topic interest.

Quick access, greater flexibility, and opportunity to go into considerable details when necessary are all the significance this study will provide to scholars/students.

The study also is very significant to students who may wish to replicate the work for better research as it serve as reference source.

1.9 Definition of the Terms

1.9.1 Selection:

It is the act of choosing items or library materials yet to be acquired for the satisfaction of library clienteles. It is the act of choice and a quantity of variety choosen from the lists of publication. It must precedes acquisition because, it is only when you select that you can acquire what you have selected.

1.9.2 Acquisition:

This is the act of obtaining materials selected. It is the act of making available the library materials that was selected from the list of publication, and it is done through the following channels, purchase, gifts, inter-library loan or exchange, legal deposit, etc. It is a term used for provision of library materials.

1.9.3 Grey Literature:

This is the term used to cover all publications that are not controlled by commercial publishing interests. That is, those publications that are issued by government, academia, business and industry in both print and electronic format. Grey literature comprises of newsletters, reports, working papers, theses, government documents, bulletins, fact sheets, symposia, conference proceedings etc.
Virtually everything we read outside of journals and books can be considered grey literature.

1.9.4 Libraries:

When there is more than one library, there are libraries. A library is not a store house of books as commonly believed by some people (layman), rather it is a collection of books and non-book materials organised for use. It is a store house of information and knowledge. It is an agency that is involved in the selection, acquisition, organisation, preservation, storage, retrieval and dissemination of information through books and non-book material for users.

1.9.5 Library

A library could also be “a building room or set of rooms containing an organised collection of prints and/or non-print materials for the use of the public or of some particular portion of it (Oduagwu, 2002).

Chapter Five

5.0 Summary of Findings, Concusion and Recommendation

5.1 Summary of Findings

The summary of the findings is based on the analysis presented in chapter four (4) of this study.

From the data gathered from the questions administered to the respondents of two academic libraries under study (FUTO and IMSU), it can be understood that the both academic libraries statically agreed there is need for Grey literature in the libraries. It was also found that both the academic libraries engaged in selection and acquisition of Grey literature.

From the analysis done o far, we can conclude that both the academic libraries under study select and acquire different types of Grey literature which are narrated in chapter 2.5 above.

The analysis of findings in chapter 4 above will help us to finalise and comprehend the hearty of the study topic which is, (The “Challenges” of selection and acquisition of Grey literature in libraries). Both academic libraries under study admits that they encounter the above challenges in Table VI, in the process of selecting and acquiring this kind of materials, Grey literature.

From the analysis so far, Table VII shows that, in spite of the difficulties, the both academic libraries lastly acquired the Grey literature this year being 2008. This concludes that no matter how problematic the acquisition of Grey literature might be the libraries endeavour to achieve their primary gaol which is to satisfy their users’ needs and to disseminate the maximum information.

5.2 Conclusion

In conclusion, it is obvious that selection and acquisition of Grey literature in libraries is very necessary. Since the Grey literature is a term used to describe “information products” which are created and distributed in order to disseminate knowledge i.e ideas, facts, opinions (Owen, 2007).

Grey literature is of paramount in the academic libraries because is has been said that students and researcher who embark on projects rely mostly upon Grey literature. Ain (1992) in an analysis of development of literature of Botswana showed that Grey Literature has been accorded significant attention in some academic libraries Nigeria.
Although Grey literature is not obtainable through conventional channels, libraries especially academic libraries yet make effort to afford them.

Grey literature is found in both print and electronic formats, academic libraries also acquire the both formats in order to ascertain the factual information and disseminate original information products through digital produced Grey literature.

Finally, if academic libraries can select and acquire Grey literature in spite of its challenges, the researcher therefore concludes that Grey literature are indispensable in libraries and because of its difficulty in the acquisition, it should not be disparaged in the libraries hence it helps in the development of special collections of libraries.

5.3 Recommendations

For the libraries to guard against those challenges revolver around the selection and acquisition of Grey literature, the following indisputable recommendations are made;

The originating organizations of Grey literature should endeavour to reflect the standard elements of identification and description in the presentation of Grey literature. This will help reduce the difficulties usually encountered in tracing, ordering, acquiring and organisation of Grey literature.

The libraries administrators should engage in cooperative collection development and investigating in new technology that enhances the accessibility to Grey literature.

The originating body/organisations should not be making the Grey literature hidden or invisible in internet or web, so as to enable librarians or researcher to acquire it easily.

Grey literature gathered from seminars, conference meetings, workshops etc. should be given a professional lay out and formats and of course be print in large quantity so as enable those who wants to acquire it top get them without difficulties.

Libraries should recruit staffs that should be specially trained and dedicated to Grey literature management so as to know how and where to obtain the Grey literature.

Libraries should also appoint or assign librarians who should attend any seminar, workshops or conferences held by any scientifically and technological institute for educational purposes; this will enhance the easy procurement of the Grey literature as they will be showed or given the conference proceedings or papers.

The researcher experienced some abnormal responses from the academic libraries under study; out of thirty-five (35) copies of questionnaire distributed to a library with more than 80staffs, only 14 copies were filled, reason being that the study topic ‘Grey Literature’ is not familiar with the staff. Based on that, the researcher therefore recommends that libraries should train their staffs in all library terms especially ‘Grey Literature’. Orientations on ‘Grey Literature’ should be given to staffs.

Finally, the researcher commends the libraries for given open access to its clienteles despite its specialty.

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