Full article: Digital Accessibility: Overcoming the Challenges of Managing Grey Literature in Jamaica: The Case of the University of the West Indies Mona Library

Abstract:  Grey literature is of inestimable value, with the potential for significant contributions to further inquiry and practice especially in academia and national development. Researchers, students, lecturers and scientists, depend on these resources which are often the main sources of indigenous and firsthand information. The challenge is retrieval, since they lack meaningful bibliographic control. They are usually not peer-reviewed and sometimes are of poor quality because they often originate from technocrats, scholars and scientists in various fields. A 2019 survey done in Jamaica with librarians from the Scientific and Technical Information Network (STIN) reveals the low status accorded to grey literature. Participants indicated that there is no active thrust towards advocacy and promotion. However, they recognize their importance and would willingly assist in organizing them. Digitization and archiving in repositories allow for greater accessibility to grey literature in academia. This paper examined the value of grey literature and presented digital accessibility as an infrastructure in overcoming associated challenges. Digitization’s value is seen in the regeneration of archiving, the increase in the use of non-circulating resources in special collections such as theses and dissertations, and in the preservation of collections. Digitization offers an online presence which raises awareness of existing collections and builds the image of academic institutions. This paper presents some best practices used in digitization, and key steps in the digitization process. The paper is qualitative and utilizes archival study to showcase the efforts of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Mona Library in using digital technology to manage grey literature and promote their special collections. The authors concluded that through digitization this Library can act as a driver to galvanize other information units to effect greater bibliographic control. Once these valuable collections become accessible, they can be positioned to contribute to national and international development.