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World News Connection (WNC) is the online offering from the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS)that replaces the hard-copy regionally-oriented "pink books" that used to be among the most prized government publications among academics, who received them free. Due to a shift in the 1990s toward copyright compliance, the online version is a severely limited rendition of what is available for internal government use, and deprives the academic and larger research communities of full access to all that is done by FBIS at taxpayer expense. DIALOG, a commercial search service from Thompson Scientific, offers an alternative but fee-based means of accessing WNC content.
Gray literature is a term used variably by the intelligence community, librarians, and medical and research professionals to refer to a body of materials that cannot be found easily through conventional channels such as publishers, "but which is frequently original and usually recent" in the words of M.C. Debachere. The U.S. Interagency Gray Literature Working Group, "Gray Information Functional Plan," 18 January 1995, defines gray literature as "foreign or domestic open source material that usually is available through specialized channels and may not enter normal channels or systems of publication, distribution, bibliographic control, or acquisition by booksellers or subscription agents." Examples of gray literature include technical reports from government agencies or scientific research groups, working papers from research groups or committees, white papers, or preprints. The term gray literature is often, but not exclusively, used for scientific research. The identification and acquisition of gray literature poses difficulties for librarians and other information professionals for several reasons. Generally, gray literature lacks strict bibliographic control, meaning that basic information such as author, publication date or publishing body may not be easily discerned. Similarly, non-professional layouts and formats and low print runs of gray literature make the organized collection of such publications challenging compared to more traditional published media such as journals and books. Information and research professionals generally draw a distinction between ephemera and gray literature, however, there are certain overlaps between the two media and they certainly share common frustrations such as bibliographic control issues. To look for grey literature is important in meta-analysis, because often only significance studies are printed.
Thomson Scientific was one of the five operating divisions of The Thomson Corporation until 2008. Following the merger of Thomson with Reuters to form Thomson Reuters in 2008, it became the Scientific business unit of the new company. In 2009, the Scientific business came together with the Healthcare business to form the Healthcare & Science business of Thomson Reuters. The Science unit provides information-based solutions for the academic, business and R&D communities. The Science business of Thomson Reuters has headquarters in Philadelphia, London, Singapore and Tokyo with about 2,400 staff in more than 20 countries. The Science business of Thomson Reuters provides integrated information solutions with brands like: Aureka, Delphion, Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI), EndNote, Horizon Global, Horizon Sourcing, IDdb, IDRAC, IP Management Services, ISI Web of Knowledge, Liquent Insight Suite, MicroPatent PatentWeb, Techstreet Industry Standards, ThomsonPharma, IDDB, Thomson Regulatory Solutions, and Web of Science.