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Cambridge University Library


New: LibGuide for working with Official Publications material

Official Publications material is requested in and fetched to the Rare Books Reading Room, regardless of publication date. Most OP material can be fetched within an hour, but more complex enquiries may take longer, particularly on Saturdays. The LibGuide linked above provides links to online resources and is recommended as the most up-to-date guide to Official Publications. 

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. Much current material is being published online; follow our Electronic resources link for a range of useful sources together with guidance notes. Since 1999 the more important works have been catalogued on the 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.

A small part of the collection is orderable to the Modern Collections Desk. 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 the National Statistics Online website).