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From 13 January 2015 Official Publications material will be requested in and fetched to the Rare Books Reading Room, regardless of publication date. A small reference collection remains on the open shelves in the West Room, and volumes can be transferred to the Rare Books room if required for consultation with fetched items. Most OP material can be fetched within 20 minutes, but more complex enquiries may take longer, particularly on Saturdays.

The Official Publications collection includes publications of : 

  • the governments of the United Kingdom, the Irish Republic, members of the Commonwealth, and some of the foreign countries;
  • more than fifty intergovernmental organisations including the United Nations and its specialist agencies, and the European Union.

The Official Publications collection is accessed in a number of ways. Since 1999 the more important works have been catalogued on the Newton online catalogue. Pre-1999 material is accessible through a subject-catalogue on cards in the Rare Books Reading Room annexe. It is in three sections: the United Kingdom; foreign and Commonwealth countries (except India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) and intergovernmental organisations; India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Blue Books (British Parliamentary Papers) have their own set of bound indexes standing next to the card catalogue. Indexes to House of Lords papers are available on request. In addition, an ever-increasing volume of official material is available online. Follow our Electronic resources link for a range of useful sources together with guidance notes.

A small part of the collection is on open access in the West Room. Pre-1900 material in these classes has been removed to closed access for conservation reasons, and should be requested to Rare Books as usual. This part of the collection includes:

  • a small reference collection (class OPR
    OPR1              General (incl. census material)
    OPR2              British Isles
    OPR3              European countries
    OPR4              Asia
    OPR5              Africa
    OPR6              Australasia
    OPR7              America
    OPR8              United Nations
    OPR10            Statistical abstracts of countries – current issues
    OPR12            Histories of Parliament);
  • Hansard (also available electronically at the UK Parliament website);
  • Journals of the House of Lords and the House of Commons;
  • Statutes of the Realm, together with the most recent consolidations supplemented by annual volumes to date;
  • British and Foreign State Papers;
  • certain publications of the Record Commissioners and the National Archive;
  • British census reports from 1801 (material for the 1901 and 2001 censuses is also available electronically at theNational Statistics Online website).