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India Office Library and Records

Official publications

March 1984


The main collection of official publications forms part of the India Office Records as it is the reference collection maintained by the former Record Department of the India Office which was responsible for the receipt and distribution of government publications from India. It contains approximately 70,000 volumes and is the most complete single collection in this country of pre-Independence Indian official publications. It also includes British government publications relating to Indian affairs. The effective terminal date is 1947, although there are a few later items.

The scope of the collection includes acts and regulations, legislative debates and official gazettes of the central and provincial governments of British India, together with departmental annual reports, censuses, gazetteers and law reports. There are also large numbers of land revenue settlement reports, procedural codes and manuals and ad hoc reports, papers and surveys. The collection contains few official publications of the princely states except for series of annual administration reports.

The collection, though extensive, is not complete and it is to some extent supplemented by other sections of the Records. The Military Department Library (L/MIL/17) and the Political and Secret Department Library (L/P&S/20) in particular contain confidential or secret prints of which no copy was kept in the Record Department. The Parliamentary Branch Collections (L/PARL/2) include 18th century parliamentary papers and confidential volumes of evidence of committees and commissions whose reports were presented to Parliament. In other cases reports or papers not in the Official Publications Collection maybe found in the relevant departmental records or in the Proceedings of the Government of India or of the local government concerned.

The India Office Library also has copies of many pre-Independence government publications but has only acquired this type of material selectively since 1947. (See the pamphlets Printed Books in European languages and Periodicals and Newspapers. ) The most comprehensive collection of post-1947 English language South Asian official publications will be found in the British Library Official Publications Library which also has very extensive holdings of older Indian government publications. Oriental language official publications and current gazettes of Indian states are held in the Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books.


Official publications have been assigned the reference letter V in the overall classification scheme of the India Office Records. The collection is divided into twenty-seven classes:

V/l British acts
V/2 Parliamentary journals
V/3 Parliamentary debates
V/4 Parliamentary papers
V/5 London Gazette
V/6 India Office serials
V/7 British official serials
V/8 Acts and codes
V/9 Legislative proceedings
V/10 Administration reports
V/11 Gazettes
V/12 Histories of service
V/13 Civil lists
V/14 Statistical serials
V!15 Census
V/16 Public finance serials
V/17 Trade and navigation statements
V/18 Meteorological serials
V/19 Survey of India
V/20 Geological Survey of India
V/21 Archaeological Survey of India
V/22 Law reports
V/23 Selections from the Records
V/24 Departmental annual reports
V/25 Indian serials
V/26 Committee and commission reports
V/27 Monographs.

Summary details of the contents of each class will be found in the Introduction to the India Office Records in the Catalogue Hall and Reading Room. The three classes V/25, V/26 and V/27 are arranged in accordance with a common subject classification which appears at the front of the lists for these classes.

Finding aids

Lists of volumes for most classes are available for consultation-in the Catalogue Hall and Reading Room. The following classes, however, have either not yet been listed or have finding aids which differ from the normal pattern.

V/2 Parliamentary journals
Unlisted. Volumes should be requisitioned by year specifying Lords or Commons, e.g. 'Commons Journal 1784'.

V/3 Parliamentary debates
There is a list of sessional indexes. Individual volumes should be requisitioned by session and volume number.

V/4 Parliamentary papers
There are two printed catalogues for papers relating to India for 1801-1907 and 1908-47. Commons papers should be requisitioned by session and volume number with the prefix V/4. Reference numbers for Lords papers are given in the catalogues.

V/11 Gazettes
Listing is not yet complete for all gazettes. Where no list is available volumes should be requisitioned by year and part number, but if this is not known readers should ask at the enquiry desk for guidance.

All serials in the collection are being entered on to the computer-held file of the University of London Union list of serials which can be consulted in microfiche form (see the pamphlet Periodicals and newspapers for further details). If a Records (IOR) holding is shown, the appropriate class list should be consulted to obtain the reference number for the particular volume required.

Requisitioning procedure

Requisition forms are kept in boxes on the tables in the Catalogue Hall. A Records form (printed in blue) should be completed for each volume. The reference number shown in the lists must always be entered on these forms except in the special cases of V/2-V/4 and V/11 for which the requisitioning procedure has been outlined above.

Photocopying facilities

Application forms are available at the staff counter or by post for readers wishing to obtain an estimate for copying of items. (See pamphlets on Photocopying facilities and Copyright. )

Works of reference

The letters CH denote titles kept on the reference shelves in the Catalogue Hall. Works in the Official Publications collection have a V/25 or V/27 reference, and Library books have a single letter and accession number shelf-mark.

Library catalogues and union lists of serials

Bengal. Education Dept Catalogue of the Bengal Secretariat Library. Vol 1: General books and official publications. 8th edition. Calcutta, 1928

Bombay. Secretariat Catalogue of books of the Secretariat Library of the Government of Bombay. Bombay, 1938

Campbell, F Index-catalogue of Indian official publications in the Library of the British Museum. London, 1899

Datta, R Union catalogue of the Central Government of India publications held by libraries in London, Oxford and Cambridge. London, 1970

Datta, R Union catalogue of the Government of Pakistan publications held by libraries in London, Oxford and Cambridge. London, 1967

Imperial [National] Library, Calcutta Catalogue Part IV: Catalogue of Indian official publications, vol I: A-L. Calcutta, 1909

India. High Commission, London India House Library: a short catalogue.London, 1933

Macdonald, T Union catalogue of the serial publications of the Indian government 1858-I 947 held in libraries in Britain. London, 1973

Madras. Secretariat Catalogue of books in the Secretariat Library Fort St George. Madras, 1913


Gokhale Institute of Politics & Economics and Indian Council of Social Sciences Bibliography of economic history of India 1500-1947. 4 vols in 5. Poona, 1977-80 [Mainly official publications.]

List of official publications (other than confidential) issued by departments of the Government of India and local governments and administrations.Various series, 1892-1944

Catalogue of [civil] publications of the Government of India. Calcutta, Delhi, 1927-

[Catalogues of provincial governments publications for sale.] Various series, 1902-42

Jadhav, C G Bibliography of census publications in India. New Delhi, 1971

Kumar, V Committees and commissions in India 1947-73. Delhi, 1975 -

Moreland, G B and Siddiqui, A H Publications of the Government of Pakistan 1947-1957. Karachi, 1958

Scholberg, H District gazetteers of British India: a bibliography. Zug, 1970

Siddiqui, A H A guide to Pakistan government publications 1958-1970.Karachi, 1973
T 28311


Ford, P and Ford, G A guide to parliamentary papers. 3rd edition. Shannon, 1972

Shukla, C P A study on the publications of the Government of India. PhD dissertation, University of Michigan, 1953
T 25607

Singh, M Government publications of India. Delhi, 1967
T 23354

Useful addresses and telephone numbers

[Please note that addresses and telephone numbers are not current.]

The British Library
India Office Library and Records
Orbit House, 197 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8NG
# 01-928 9531

The British Library, Official Publications Library
Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3DG
# 01-636 1544 ext 234/235

The British Library
Department of Oriental Manuscripts and Printed Books
Store Street, London WC1E 7DG
# 01-636 1544 ext 259

Dramrite Printers Ltd, London SE1.