​​​Searching for aged care information online – organisation sources​​

​Paul Ross

Librarian & Information Specialist, ARIIA

​​Searching online draws us into a diverse web of possible access points to research and information. As stated in previous blogs, this can include using search engines which connect you to organisations, academic and government data. Yet just relying on a search engine alone, can mean you get lost in the haze of “information overload”. Breaking your searching down into different approaches, can enable you to manage the information you are looking for into certain groupings, while helping to prevent feelings of being overwhelmed. The term ‘grey literature’ is generally used to describe information that has not been subject to a formal publication process i.e. a publisher hasn’t undertaken peer-review upon it and published it.  Anything outside of this commercially published domain is known as a ‘grey’ area and is classed as ‘grey literature’. This collection of content can include and array of information, from videos to policy documents and toolkits to blogs, to name but a few.

​Searching for grey literature should be conducted using a triangulated, three-point approach.

  • ​First, compile a search using a search engine, to develop a clear idea what you are looking for and how your subject is described in the literature. Then you can conduct a more focused search into organisations, that focus on your speciality. This can be done by limiting your search engine results to .ORG (Organisational) results and note the organisation names that come up for further searching.
  • ​Secondly, you could use lists of organisations in your area of interest, such as those provided by ARIIA (Organisations / Resources), PalliAged and the Australian Government.
  • ​Finally, the organisations contained within these lists and found in your own searches, can be searched by looking for either a resources or publication section/s. You could use their own site search box, if they have one, but not all search functions are equal, as some may not find what you are looking for.

​Pro-tip: If you want to double-check an organisation's site, then use Google Advanced in the “site or domain” section, just pop in the organisation's web address and the term/s you’re looking for, Google will then search the whole of the organisation's site to find the information, that their own internal search, may have missed.

​By using a triangulated approach to searching for grey literature from organisational sites, you can gain greater confidence that you have covered a broad selection of sources, beyond just an online search, using a search engine. It is also recommended to add any organisations you found into a bookmark folder, to save you time in the future and to build your own collection of knowledge, in your specialist field of interest. As grey literature exists all around us and is constantly in production, visit your library or academic specialist centres especially if it has a special collection in your field of interest.

​Pro-tip: connect with professionals in your field or enquiry and ask them what sources of information they use.

​In our final blog we will complete the overall picture of searching online, by looking into searching for information, using online databases.  To visit our previous blogs on the subject of searching online, visit our introduction and search sources blogs.

*The views and opinions expressed in Knowledge Blogs are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of ARIIA, Flinders University and/or the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care.