Abstract The field of grammatical inference (also known as grammar induction) is transversal to a number of research areas including machine learning, formal language theory, syntactic and structural pattern recognition, computational linguistics, computational biology and speech recognition. There is no uniform literature on the subject and one can find many papers with original definitions or points of view. This makes research in this subject very hard, mainly for a beginner or someone who does not wish to become a specialist but just to find the most suitable ideas for his own research activity. The goal of this paper is to introduce a certain number of papers related with grammatical inference. Some of these papers are essential and should constitute a common background to research in the area, whereas others are specialized on particular problems or techniques, but can be of great help on specific tasks.