Date of this Version
Gardner, S. & Royster, P. (2023). "Gray Literature in the Institutional Repository: Partnership Between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries and Two Textile Societies," in Rethinking Institutional Repositories Innovations in Management, Collections, and Inclusion, ed. J. Cromwell. ALA/ACRL, 2023.
Gray literature (GL) often contains valuable, unique knowledge but is sometimes difficult to source, collect, and preserve. Institutional repositories can serve as excellent platforms for such material due to their open accessibility for anyone with an internet connection. This chapter includes a brief discussion about gray literature as a material type in libraries generally and covers the partnership of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries with the Textile Society of America and the Centre for Textile Research that has resulted in the publishing of the groups’ conference papers. Together, as of mid-2022, these materials have been full-text downloaded nearly 1,500,000 times from all corners of the globe. Of particular significance, this body of scholarship addresses the work of Indigenous artisans, helping to promote bibliodiversity and academic equity.
If IRs are to have a mission beyond the simple reproduction of already-published scholarly work, they should look beyond the existing literature to the places where active scholarship is taking place—in conferences, symposia, workshops, and colloquia. What was once thought “gray” literature can emerge as “black” (or “white”?) or whatever color represents scholarship made widely and freely available. It exists and is seeking an outlet. One does not have to look so very hard; one needs only to answer “yes” when it comes knocking.