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last updated: 9/12/2013

Guide: Contemporary British Official Publications


This guide is intended to introduce users to basic sources of information on current activities and publications of the government of the United Kingdom (England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland.) For historical sources (1688-2004) consult the Guide to British Parliamentary Papers in the Indiana University Libraries, the History Collections home page, and A Vision of Britain Through Time.

What you need to know before getting started:

Many full-text sources are available through electronic access via open websites. For additional information, please consult the government information specialists in the ET2 (2nd floor- East Tower of the Herman B Wells Library) or email your questions on this topic to

Getting Started:

The largest publisher of British official publications today is TSO (The Stationery Office). For IUCAT or WorldCat searches, add "AND, TSO, OR Stationery Office" to keyword searches to help narrow your search on a topic to official publications. Example: "Census AND TSO OR Stationery Office."

The Stationery Office Monthly Catalogue and Annual Catalogue, published since 1996, provide lists of newly published British government publications.


GOV.UK is the British Citizen's starting point for public service information. It includes A-Z lists of central government websites, and reference guides on government statistics and government.

Recommended Sources of Information: [formerly Office of Public Sector Information, formerly HMSOnline]: Since 2002, all legislation and acts are published simultaneously here and in print, with equal authority.

Official documents contains a wide selection of full text government titles on economics, health, work and welfare, the environment, and other topics from 1994 to the present.

British Library Net: This is the British Library's guide to finding and accessing British and international documents.


BBC: Democracy Live: Links to information on the cabinet, parliament, daily politics, and other topics from BBC radio and television.

Other Useful Links:

Identifying Primary and Secondary Sources: A Preliminary Guide.

Guide to Citing International Organization Publications.

For additional information, please contact the staff in Government Information, Maps and Microform Services.

last updated: 9/12/2013