Library catalogues, academic databases and other traditional sources of information have much to offer. But these days, a significant amount of the information we need isn’t available from standard print or online sources. It’s in the grey literature – information produced by government, business and industry which isn’t controlled by commercial publishers.

What are clearinghouses?

Clearinghouses are sites that collect, organise and distribute information on a particular topic. They act as a one-stop-shop for certain types of information in their subject areas.

In the last ten years or so, web-based publications have exploded. Clearinghouses are one way of responding to the need for more centralised discovery of these resources.

What’s so good about clearinghouses?

Some of the best things about clearinghouses are that they:

  • curate and provide access to a range of resources in one place
  • are generally free to access
  • are supported by sector/subject experts
  • provide full-text articles or links to them
  • can provide alerts and email updates

Our favourite clearinghouses

There are Australian-based clearinghouses for a vast range of issues. Here are some of our favourites.

Women’s Health Victoria Clearinghouse: identifies, collects and provides access to published women’s health information designed to build the capacity of others to incorporate a gendered approach to health

Closing the Gap Clearinghouse: focuses on research and evaluation evidence about what works to overcome Indigenous disadvantage

The Drug Info Clearinghouse: a comprehensive alcohol and other drug library and information service for people working and studying in alcohol and drug-related work settings.

Clearinghouse for Sport: an Australian Sports Commission led information and knowledge sharing initiative that works to identify and acquire information of relevance to the Australian sport sector

National Oral Health Promotion Clearinghouse: provides information that contributes to the reduction of oral disease in Australia by sharing prevention and oral health promotion strategies

If you’re looking for information that is unpublished or has been published in a non-commercial form, a clearinghouse can be a great place to start your search. You’ll find items like government reports, policy statements, issues papers, research papers, fact sheets and newsletters, to name just a few.

In our next blog post, we’ll provide more tips for getting the most out of the grey literature.