The health information universe is a constantly changing and growing body of knowledge. While much exists online and in health databases, there is a wealth of one-off, technical, government-sponsored and non-profit research being conducted that is not indexed by any major databases. This research is called grey literature. Discovery and harvesting of grey literature has become easier with the explosion of web publishing in recent years; still, it is difficult and time consuming to search for organizations that publish the material you are interested in, not to mention the task of gathering, internally indexing, and updating the material.
To help librarians and researchers discover and find grey literature, I'm sharing a few resources today that can help with your search.
First, the New York Academy of Medicine (the second largest medical library in the U.S. open to the public, outside of the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda) publishes a report of grey literature they collect. In addition, the Academy maintains a blog about current urban health awareness featuring the latest reports added to their catalog. For health care policy reports and analysis, the Academy of Medicine maintains a resource in partnership with the Kaiser Family Foundation called Health Policy Picks.
In addition to reports in the Academy of Medicine's collection, a very helpful list of organizations that produce grey literature in the health field is maintained at the library's website.
The Duke University Medical Center Library also maintains a listing of sources of grey literature.
Another tack to take when searching for unindexed material is to access the CRISP database. CRISP is a database of federally funded biomedical research projects being conducted at universities and other research institutions, including those funded by the NIH and FDA among other agencies. For thsoe searching for clinical trials, CRISP has added two indexing terms: Clinical Trials, Phase I and Clinical Trials, Phase II/III/IV.
The University of New Mexico maintains a website of resources of grey literature in the health sciences as well as another listing of organizations that produce grey literature relating to health.
GreySource is a web-based selection of resources that explicitly refer to the term "grey literature" on their sites. Contains materials in languages other than English.
While this is only a brief introduction to grey literature searching, I hope it serves as a starting point for finding reports and research not represented in major indexes. Happy searching!