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Accessing Pre-Independence Indian Official Publications at the British Library

Following the deposit of the British Museum Library set of Indian Official Publications at the University of Chicago Library, readers should consult the remaining set, belonging to the former India Office Library & Records. Most titles in the shelfmark ranges I.S. to I.S.UP. for the pre-Independence period for which references may be found in Explore the British Library are no longer available.

While the main focus for official publications and related materials in the British Library at St Pancras is the Social Policy Information Service Reading Room (Business & IP Centre - Floor 2) (SPIS) - for pre-Independence Indian official publications readers should apply in the first instance to the Asian & African Studies Reading Room on the 3rd Floor, where staff have access to a list of deposited I.S. shelfmarks with their equivalents. These copies have shelfmarks primarily in the India Office Records V/8-27 ranges, but also the L/MIL range, and the India Office Library ranges beginning T, V, W or Tr. [for monographs] or ST, SV and SW [for serials]. The V/8-27 and L/MIL classes may be ordered via Explore the British Library [click Request List, Asia Pacific Africa Collections, India Office Records], where the India Office Library titles may also be ordered [click Request List, Asia Pacific Africa Collections, Asia Pacific Africa Collections Printed Books and Serials].

Also available at the Asian & African Studies and SPIS Reading Room desks is a list of unique titles in the I.S. to I.S.UP. shelfmark range, retained at the British Library. Please note that these unique copies are housed at Boston Spa, Yorkshire, and are available with 24 hours' notice.

Another way to find the equivalent shelfmarks between the I.S. and IOLR sets of official publications is to search the bibliographic records for these materials now available via the University of Chicago website.

Researchers interested in pre-Independence Indian official publications generally should consult the V-class of the India Office Records [V-lists 4, and 6-27, on open access in the Asian & African Studies Reading Room], and also the L/MIL class [see 'Guide to the Records of the India Office Military Department' by A. Farrington, 1982, in the Asian & African Studies Reading Room at OIR026.954]. Please note that series titles - principally V/8-25, but also some others - are also accessible via option 2 of Explore the British Library as are some monographs. Finally, the Asian & African Studies card-catalogue [Western languages, Printed Books] includes some official material. Readers should also note that for the pre-Independence period, Indian official publications include those for Burma.

Should you have any queries when on-site please email or refer to the staff on the Asian & African Studies Reading Room desk.


Asian and African Studies enquiries
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7873
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7641

E-mail: Ask the Asian and African Studies Reference Team