My previous article on Making Sense of Current Information Technology Trends identified four different groups of IT trends and their impact on four different areas of business – technology, customers, products/services, and employees. The way we manage information is also directly impacted and, since grey literature (GL) is part of information management, it is interesting to look at what impact, if any, these four current IT trends might have on GL.

So the question is whether four major IT trends already identified, by impacting information management have the same impact on the grey literature. In other words, can a parallel be drawn between the impact of IT on information management and its direct effect on GL. Let’s have a look at the following clusters:

The above groups show what specific aspects of four identified areas of grey literature management and related work are already impacted or will soon be impacted by the identified current IT trends. The impact is already being strongly felt across the wider information management sector, and it will continue to be of major concern, bringing many challenges and requiring well-planned, well-established, and well-financed actions.

Some of these forthcoming changes could be regarded as significant, potentially having a serious negative impact on grey literature in general. For example, IT security constraints and restrictions, dynamic documents, available resources, intellectual property protection, required relevance of search results, inadequate training, and limited career development options are difficult to overcome.

Quite often, technical or product constraints get most of the attention and resources. However, most projects or new initiatives fail, not because of these technical factors, but rather because of the untrained or unmotivated workforce, where the emphasis of actions should always have been. It would require many planned efforts to overcome all the anticipated challenges and to make grey literature a valuable, viable, and usable information resource in the future.

The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.  Socrates

During the last few decades, IT developments have had an immense impact on the way we manage information in general, as well as on the way we create, disseminate, and use grey literature. Based on the current IT trends and new solutions already in place, it can be concluded that this interdependency between IT developments and information management, i.e. grey literature, will continue in the future. Information technology will continue to define and affect the digital future of related information management activities, as well as grey literature, and our job as information managers is to make the best out of it.

Dobrica Savić

DISCLAIMER: Any views or opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of his employer.