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The paper describes some initiatives in the field of grey literature (GL) and the activities, from 1985, of the Italian Library Association Study Group. The major categories of GL are defined; a survey that evaluates the use of GL by end users in the health sciences is described. References in selected periodicals and databases have been analyzed for the years 1987-1988 to determine the number of articles citing GL, the number of GL citations found in selected periodicals, the various types of GL found, and the number of technical reports cited and their country of origin and intergovernmental issuing organization. Selected databases were also searched to determine the presence of GL during those same years. The paper presents the first results obtained.