Introduction to Campbell's
Index-Catalogue of Indian Official Publications

[The following is extracted from Index-Catalogue of Indian Official Publications in the Library, British Museum, compiled by Frank Campbell, published in 1900 by W. Thacker & Co., London.]


Sources of Publication of Indian Official Documents
Special Libraries of Deposit
Contents of Present Catalogue
Arrangement of Headings
Miscellaneous Notes
Abbreviations and Explanations
Arrangement of Headings
Specimen Page from the Index-Catalogue


A Catalogue of Indian Official Documents scarcely demands an apology. In recent years there have been, on all sides, growing indications of a general desire, not only in England but in other parts of Europe, to study systematically and thoroughly the more modern conditions of life as well as the past history of our Eastern Empire. Thus, if we turn to the field of Archaeology, we find that, as the result of the deliberations of the late Congress of Orientalists, held in Rome, it has been decided to institute a "Fund for Indian Exploration" "intended to promote specific Archaeological excavations or research to be conducted with the permission and under the supervision of the Archaeological Survey of India." In reference to Philology, the "Linguistic Survey of India" is proof of the activity of those desirous of a comprehensive scientific study of the Languages of India. Further afield, the project of an Anthropological Survey of India is one which has considerably engaged the attention of the British Association. Nor is the increase of interest confined to these subjects alone; for public attention has lately been very greatly directed to the development of Medical Science in the Tropics. Thus, in addition to the founding of University Chairs of Tropical Medicine, it is possible to point to the institution of the London and Liverpool Schools of Tropical Medicine, as a recognition of the necessity for the scientific study of the many diseases so characteristic of India and other tropical climates. Recent years have witnessed also the establishment of the Imperial Institute,with its Indian Section and its "Scientific and Technical Research Department," mainly occupied, so far as India is concerned, with the Commercial Products and Industries of our Eastern Empire. Finally, we may point to the Indian Institute at Oxford, founded with the general object of "promoting, stimulating and encouraging Indian studies of all kinds. [Footnote: There are now some 20 Special Agents appointed for the sale of Indian Official Documents - seven being in London, and five on the Continent.]

These enterprises alone are sufficient evidence of the great increase of interest taken in India and Indian life, on the part of the "general public." It will naturally occur then to many to ask: What are the Documents published on these and other kindred subjects? Where are they deposited? And how can they be found?


In answer to the first question it is important to make clear that there are various sources of publication. Thus, Indian Official Reports may have been issued: —

To these may be added a small number of Reports issued by Institutions in England officially connected with India; also a certain number of Official Documents which have been printed in London for reasons not always stated. Finally, note should be taken of those works, increasing in number, published by retired Indian Officials, which, though published unofficially, often contain official papers, are often of great value, and frequently supply the want of Reports otherwise not issued.


In regard to Libraries of Deposit, the largest and most complete collection of Indian Documents in England naturally exists at the India Office. A considerable collection, however, exists at the British Museum, while other collections are to be found at the Bodleian Library, the Cambridge University Library, Trinity College, Dublin, and at the Library of the Faculty of Advocates, Edinburgh. [Footnote: Owing to exigencies of staff, it has not yet been possible to catalogue the Indian Documents at any of these Libraries, a fact which emphasises the value of any future measures which the Government of India may be willing to take in regard to the cataloguing of future Documents sent home to England.]


The present Catalogue (or series of Catalogues), which represents very greatly the work of some thirteen years, refers mainly to the more modern portion of the collection of Indian official publications issued in India subsequent to the Mutiny — so far as the Documents have been deposited in the Library of the British Museum. Certain of the headings include Reports issued in the earlier part of the century, but these are less numerous. Reports issued as "English Parliamentary Papers" are not included except in rare instances; but there is a considerable representation of Departmental Reports issued in London in connection with the India Office. Works of a semi-official nature have been included when met with, or in certain instances where they supplied deficiencies. Similarly a few instances occur of works which, being unofficial, yet serve to fill a gap.

It must however be distinctly understood that the Catalogue does not at present claim to represent the British Museum Collection completely, owing to the impossibility (amid other duties) of discovering the numerous Reports, often of great value, which have been dispersed in past years in the "General Catalogue" under their Authors' names.


In offering aid to the student of Official Literature, it is not safe to assume that the average "Reader" knows either the name of the Department which issued a Report, or the name of the official compiler (even if stated), still less the exact titleof a Document. [Footnote: Technical difficulties render such a knowledge generally impossible. In different countries reports identical with one another will be issued by different Departments, and even in the same country the connection of a Report with a particular Department will often vary; the official designations of Departments and of the titles of Periodical Reports are liable to frequent change. A Department has frequently no close correspondence with the subject of the Reports issued in its name, and the titles (if supplied) are frequently so constructed that no effort of memory will serve to recall them. In the face of these difficulties the ignorance of the average reader is not surprising.]

Indeed, all he knows is that he requires a Report (or a Collection of Reports) on a particular subject (which may or may not have been issued) relative to a certain year or period of time. And the Catalogue required is that which most readily and fully supplies such information and enables those Documents to be produced with ease and certainty. Experience teaches that the particular form of Catalogue required is a "Specific Subject Catalogue," modified by the occasional introduction of the element of the "Classed Catalogue." That is to say, in the majority of instances, a Document will be found under the particular subject. Thus Reports on Agriculture, the Census, Factories, Famine, Forest Adm., Meteorology, Sanitation, etc., will be found under those headings.

Where the Department corresponds with the subjects of the Reports issued, the name of the Department is, if possible, retained as a subject-heading. But, as already hinted, in addition to the claims of the student who wishes to find a work on a particular subject, it is necessary to pay regard to the needs of those who are engaged in the study of a particular class of Documents. Thus, the students of the Tropical School of Medicine and all Medical Officers, would naturally desire to end Reports on Special Diseases grouped together; and the authorities of the Imperial Institute would wish to find works relative to the Commercial Products of India placed together. These reasonable demands necessitate the adoption of such conspicuous Class-headings as Disease and Products and Industries, under which all works on Specific Diseases or Special Products etc., may be found grouped together and easily traceable, either as groups or as individual Documents.

With the further purpose of supplying the advantages of a Classed Catalogue (since the majority of entries are placed under the Specific Subject), General Cross-References have been frequently supplied, in order to indicate the headings under which the various works belonging to the same class may easily be found.

[Text omitted here dealing with the order of entries in the Catalogue and descriptions of the headings used.]


[Text omitted here on "Buried Information" in the Catalogue.]

"Book-marks and Press-marks." — Official Documents consist very largely of Periodical Reports. For this reason any system of marking which attempts to locate a work permanently in one press or on one shelf is bound to be a failure, owing to the inevitable expansion of books on the shelf. It is necessary, therefore, to give each work a mark peculiar to itself, and the simplest way is to arrange the Documents under the Province to which they relate, and to label each Document as Number 1, 2, 3, ... 100, etc. of that Province.

If the Documents can be arranged on the shelf, in alphabetical order of heading, corresponding with the order of headings in the printed Catalogue, so much the better, it then being easy to remember that a Report on Agriculture is probably placed as the first or second work in the collection, while a work on Zoology would naturally stand at the end of the collection as the last work. If carried out, such a system of arrangement renders reference to the Catalogue in a large number of instances quite unnecessary.

If. it be desired to keep Reports on one Subject together, this can always be done by adding a cypher after a stroke, e.g., 10, 11, 11/1, 11/2, 11/3, up to 11/100 or more (if need be), 12, 13, etc. This avoids the intricacies and confusion arising from the use of letters of a limited alphabet; in fact, no system can be simpler.

Such "Press-marks" (e.g. 2059. 6.) as have been used in the present work refer to Documents which have been placed, in the past, for special reasons, in that part of the Library reserved for "General Literature."

[Text omitted here on details of display in the Catalogue.]


The issue of the present work not unnaturally raises the question as to the ultimate cataloguing, not only of those Indian Documents which happen to exist in a particular Library, but of all Documents issued in the past, independently of their actual location. [Footnote: Taking the accounts of the year 1898 - 99 as a basis of calculation, the Government of India spends some £2,000,000 approximately in ten years on the Printing and Binding of Indian Documents. If this be so, would it not be worth while spending a reasonable sum in order to have the same Documents properly catalogued?] Opinions differ as to the exact value of Catalogues of Official Documents owing to the subject never having been thoroughly discussed. This is partly due to the fact that Government Departments, in all countries, are accustomed to rely upon men rather than on Catalogues. "Send me what reports you can find (?) on this subject" is the order. But how can the Reports be found without a Catalogue — and a Catalogue based upon a proper system? And if there be a Catalogue, why not print and distribute it so that all can benefit by it, independently of distance, time, and the actual presence of particular officials, who ultimately must depart, bearing with them all their personal knowledge and experience?

But what is to be done? Supposing that the further development of the subject commends itself as a worthy idea. There are two projects which might be initiated with advantage. (1) The compilation of a complete Catalogue of Documents issued during the Nineteenth Century, or at any rate during the last half of it. (2) The compilation of a monthly Catalogue, up-to-date, of Documents issued throughout India, arranged under headings similar, if not identical, with those in the present work.

The former undertaking is one the general cost of which would necessarily be considerable, but the difficulties should be greatly reduced if the co-operation of the several Local Governments were enlisted.

The latter project could be effected at a trifling cost, and with little or no trouble — indeed, the materials already exist in the quarterly Registers which have been printed since the year 1892, in response to an appeal from the British Museum.

I understand that effective measures have already been taken for the compilation of a Complete Catalogue, up-to-date, of Documents actually "On Sale." This in itself should be a work of the greatest practical value.


[Text omitted here on explanations.]

[Text omitted here on explanations and "Errata."]






Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Arabian Sea.
Bay of Bengal.
Central Provinces.
Central Asia.
Central India.
Coosack Countries.
Danish Settlements.
Dutch in India.
French in India.
Haidarabad Assigned Districts.
Haidarabad State.
Hong Kong.
Indian Ocean.

Bahrain Is.
Barren I.
Cheduba I.
Laccadive Is.
Mergui Archipelago.
Minicoy I.
Rameswaran I.
Ramri and Cheduba Is.

Malay archipelago.
Mysore (Bangalore).
Native States.
North-Western Provinces & Oudh.
Persian Gulf & Muscat.
Portuguese in India.
Straits Settlements (-1867).
Trans-Himalayan Explorations.
Turkey in Asia.




Civil Service Commission.
Coopers Hill.
East India Company.

Board of Control.
Court of Directors.

English Parliamentary Papers (Miscellaneous).
Haileybury College.
Imperial Institute.
India Office.
London (Miscellaneous).
Periodicals (Journal of Indian Art).
Record Office, London.
South Kensington Museum.

III. (Nil.)


N.-W. Provinces.


American Official Documents.
Botanical Survey of India.
Jail Adm.
Law & Legislation.
Learned Societies.
Medical Reports (Scientific).
Minutes. (Nil.)
Products (Economic).
Public Works.
Sanitary Reports (App.).
Veterinary Science.

Specimen Page from the Index-Catalogue

Page 58 from the Index-Catalogue