Click here to skip to content

Official publications

If you think that Official Publications are dull transcripts of parliamentary debates, you are wrong. Items in our collection include:

  • A European Commission Report on Raspberry Ice-cream
  • 'Wall Paintings of the Western Himalayas'
  • Findings of The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry
  • 'Legacy of a President': memorable words of JFK
  • 'Formal Investigation into The Loss of the Titanic'

…and these are just the tip of the iceberg!

Our collection is very strong in British, US Federal, Intergovernmental (including European Union) and worldwide material, particularly for Parliamentary and departmental items.

Use the links below to find more about our Official Publications holdings.

Still can't trace an item? Then send us a speculative request using one of our document delivery services.

Our collection is very strong in British, US Federal, Intergovernmental (including European Union) and worldwide material, particularly for Parliamentary and departmental items.

Use the links below to find more about our Official Publications holdings.

Still can't trace an item? Then send us a speculative request using one of our document delivery services.

 Collections

British Official Publications

A broad sample of the material in our collection:

  • Since 1962 the British Library Document Supply collection has received all publications from The Stationery Office (formerly HMSO) on selected subscription. All HMSO publications 1922-61 on 2,500 rolls of microfilm.
    • British sessional papers from 1801-1921 on microfiche, and up-to-date held in hard copy.
    • Extensive collection of departmental published material and additional donated material.
    • Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly publications received.
  • The Stationery Office Belfast, Statutory Rules and Acts, Parliamentary material and Censuses.
  • Parliamentary Debates and journals from the House of Commons and the House of Lords.
  • A microfiche collection from 1980 of parliamentary and departmental monographs & serials published by Chadwyck-Healey from 1980 onwards.
  • Acts of Parliament from 1685, plus a retrospective collection dating back to King John and the Magna Carta.
  • "Soldiers who died in the Great War", "History of the World Wars", "Trial of Major War Criminals" .
  • Nautical Publications, Investigation of Railway Accidents, Highway Code (the most demanded single item), etc.
  • It is worth noting that we do not hold Law cases.

Many British Government publications are published as reports. Further information can be found on our Reports page.

Our collection of HMSO/TSO material is so vast and the staff so experienced in identifying and locating Official Publications that The Stationery Office Ltd themselves use us to provide them with copies of their own out of print material.

We can copy in its entirety any HMSO/TSO material over 2 years old.

When asked about the service provided by the Official Publications department, The Stationery Office representative enthusiastically responded "Good - well it’s excellent in fact!"

Our Parliamentary material is not catalogued and therefore does not appear on Explore the British Library. So we may hold an item even if you can't find it. When you can’t find it in the Integrated Catalogue, don’t assume it isn’t held here. We use a number of databases and catalogues to identify Official Publications. If you can’t find it, perhaps we can!

 Intergovermental

An Intergovernmental document is published by/or on behalf of an International organisation funded either independently or by the governments of more than one country.

Of over 3,000 Intergovernmental organisations fewer than 200 publish a significant amount of material, of which the majority is held in our collection. The largest Intergovernmental collection is that of the European Union.

We hold significant collections of the principal organisations:

  • United Nations
  • FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) over 800 monographs and nearly all publications since 1976 on microfiche
  • OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) all monographic publications since 1960
  • IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency)
  • WHO (World Health Organisation)
  • ILO (International Labour Organisation)
  • CAB (Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau).

 European Union

We have received all EU material since 1966 and some additional items dating back to the early days of the EEC in the 1950’s.

We have:

  • The Official Journal of the European Communities, ‘C’, ‘L’, and ‘S’ series including directives, legislation & tenders.
  • Commission Documents (COM DOCS) covering proposals for new EC legislation.
  • The Bulletin of the European Communities - activities of the commission.
  • Over 1,200 serials of which 400+ are currently received, including statistical material published by Eurostat.
  • Over 18,000 EU sponsored research reports covering a wide range of topics, the first being published in 1961. This collection is supported by approximately 15,000 microfiche.
  • Access to many EU databases.

 United States Federal

The United States Government Printing Office (USGPO) is the world’s largest publisher of government material. In addition to our own collection we have access to the USGPO depository collection held at the British Library London. These can be borrowed for library use in the UK and can be photocopied for use worldwide. We are able to provide whole copies of US government documents.

There is a vast microfiche collection:

  • CIS (Congressional Information Service), this includes House Documents, Hearings and Public Laws and dates from 1970.
  • ASI (American Statistical Index), ‘statistical’ meaning any numerical data. This complete collection dates from 1974, but we do have a retrospective collection.
  • A large NTIS collection contains PB & AD Reports.
  • US Geological Survey – various reports held both in fiche and paper copy.
  • EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) – reports held as fiche and paper copy.
  • NIOSH Publications – held in paper copy and fiche.
  • US Army in World War 2 – held in paper copy.
  • US Censuses – covers the period 1870-1964, but with some reprints from as early as 1790.

 Our collection of USGPO material has mostly been purchased on demand, or when considered a valuable acquisition, for example:

  • The Challenger Space Shuttle Disaster
  • The Iran Contra Hearings
  • The Watergate Hearings
  • The Accident at Three Mile Island
  • The Assassination of President Kennedy
  • The Roswell Report
  • Conduct of the Gulf War
  • The Solar Eclipse of 1883.

 Worldwide

Worldwide includes anything not British, Intergovernmental, or US Federal, but does include material from US and Australian states and Canadian provinces. Most of the worldwide Official material has been purchased on demand, donated or purchased as ‘special interest’, for example:

  • Sharks and Rays of Australia
  • Wall Paintings of the Western Himalayas
  • Soviet correspondence in relation to World War Two
  • The Bhopal Aftermath.

The British Library Document Supply service has access to the collections held by the British Library in London, loans for UK customers and photocopies supplied worldwide. We also have:

  • A good collection of French and Canadian monographs.
  • A limited number of Irish monographs, some Parliamentary material and Censuses.
  • National development plans for various countries and years are held on microfilm.
  • Australian Parliamentary and census material.
  • Over the years the Australian and Canadian collections have been built up.
  • In the early 1980s the ‘MICROLOG’ collection commenced (Canadian Federal Official Publications on microfiche).

 Ordering Official Publications

  • Much of our Official Publication material is not catalogued and therefore does not appear on Explore the British Library. So we may hold an item even if you can't find it there.
  • You will not be charged for any requests we cannot satisfy!
  • There are no copyright restrictions on US material.
  • If an item is not already in our stock, your interest could prompt us to purchase.