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Media and Communication

Useful information for Media and Communication students.

What is Gray Literature?

Gray literature is written material that is not published commercially or is not generally accessible. Company reports, industry reports, patents, white papers, pre-publications and zines are types of gray literature.

What's a white paper?

A white paper is an authoritative report or guide. They're usually government documents or business-to-business marketing documents.

How to find gray literature

So, how does one find stuff that's not intended for publication or wide distribution? If it's not cataloged in a library or in a database, where do we go? Google.

Search for "$MyIndustry white papers" and you'll get corporate documents,industry reports, etc. 

screenshot of google search for "communications white papers"


Other good search terms are $MyIndustry + 

  • working papers
  • working groups
  • analysis
  • patents
  • report
  • technical report
  • industry report
  • projections
  • trends

You can also go do Google Advanced Search(, and run this same search, but limit the results to PDF, and you'll get the acutal white papers. 

screenshot of google advanced search for "Communications White Papers" and PDF as file type