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Environmental Protection Technology

Resources for your research in Environmental Protection Technology

Grey literature refers to that body of research produced by organizations outside of the commercial/academic publishing and distribution systems. This includes information from various sources such as: theses and dissertations, conference proceedings, and publications and reports from various levels of governmental and non-governmental organizations. Content may be free/open access or restricted to specific audiences. 

Depending on your research question or field of study, searching for grey literature may form an important part of your search. 

When searching for grey literature on the internet, take a few extra steps to assess the credibility of the site and organization responsible for the information, and watch for potential biases or omissions that their reports may contain. 

  • Open another tab and do an "about" search if the organization is not known to you
  • Likewise, search for information about the author
  • Use Wikipedia as a source of information about the organization, as well as any controversies about the topic



Municipal sources of environmental data, reports, and planning:

Data, reporting  and sampling for BC:

Government of Canada sources:

The library subscribes to a collection of Canadian Public Documents collection, featuring over 60,000 reports and publications from various governmental jurisdictions, non-governmental organizations, and think tanks. Search by keyword, and use the filters to locate online full-text editions.

These documents are also available through searching Summon search and the library catalogue. 

Your searching for grey literature will likely be outside of the library's collections, and a few tips from Advanced Google searching will be useful additions to your strategies. 

  • restricting your searches to specific sites or domains, ie.,
    • this will ensure that your results only come from the site or domain you specify. Expect to get far fewer but more relevant results
  • consider results coming in particular file formats ie., PDF
    • most formally published information exists in PDF format rather than HTML 

The following screenshot shows a search that uses exact phrase searching "drinking water" and is restricted to the Government of Canada site and published in PDF. You can set up your search using the Advanced Google search interface (linked above) until you are familiar with the shorthand commands. Click on the screenshot to see the actual 15,000 results (at time of screencapture), compared with the more than 7 million hits that result from a general keyword search using drinking water on reserves in Canada. Note that all results below are  published in PDF and housed on the government site.