Originally published by The Grey Journal (TGJ), Volume 18, Number 1, Spring 2022.
Digital transformation makes an impact on organizations and businesses affecting many of their activities, either in a positive or a negative way. Once an organization starts on the road of digital transformation the impact is always considerable and long-lasting. Due to the specific nature of digital transformation to be able to impact whole industries, even if some organizations decide not to start with digital transformation, they may experience an indirect impact. The area of grey literature management is one of those activities that will have to deal with the indirect impact imposed by the digital transformation of host organizations and related activities. The nature of information work in general, the workforce, and the workplace are undergoing major changes.
The same is the case with grey literature. Once it is severely impacted, its long-term sustainability might come into question. This paper deals with the sustainability of three main aspects of grey literature management — the nature of grey literature and the related work, the workforce, and the workplace. To provide sustainability of grey management some specific preconditions need
to be met. For example, availability relates to long term preservation, and it includes physical and electronic storage. Also, efficient search and retrieval, together with format recognition, which is directly related to usability, are important preconditions of sustainability. All the preconditions mentioned are challenging tasks in the long run due to fast developments and frequent changes of IT systems, formats, standards, and protocols. All systems need to be fully operational and well maintained, which requires periodic updates, changes, and if needed, complete replacements. This is especially the case with outdated and propitiatory file formats that might become unusable over time. Despite all challenges, digital transformation provides the opportunity to enhance the management of grey literature, increase its value and importance, and improve its sustainability.
Keywords: digital transformation, grey literature, sustainability