Government publications

Government publications are primary sources of information for many subject areas. The Library holds a number and range of government publications which are integrated with the rest of the book stock according to subject matter. This guide will help you trace primarily UK Government publications.


Finding government publications
Finding individual types of publication
Government department publications
Statistical publications
Grey literature
News stories
Useful internet sites

Finding government publications

  • Library Catalogue: the Catalogue gives details of all our holdings and can be accessed from on or off campus. Use the title or keyword (words from titles) search if you have details of a publication. If you are unsure of the exact title use keyword search
  • UK Government Web site: Directgov provides access to a range of government information and publications
  • United Kingdom parliamentary publications and records: the UK parliament publishes a range of government information and many of these publications are available online from this site
  • The Stationery Office (TSO) publish many UK government publications. The Office also acts as an agent for some European and International organisations. Search the Stationary Office online catalogue for publication details. The Library also holds their lists at QR 015.41 GRE. They provide bibliographic details of everything they publish or distribute. QR = Quick Reference
  • Non TSO publications - not all UK government publications are published by TSO, for those that are not use :
    • Catalogue of British official publications not published by the Stationary office at QR 015.42 CAT which includes publications of government depts, quangos and other official bodies. QR = Quick Reference.

Finding individual types of publication

Acts of Parliament (Statutes)

  • Halsbury's Statutes: this is a multi-volume set, arranged by subject, which provides the full text of Acts. It is held in the Library at 348.02
  • Current Law Statutes: this is a multi-volume set, arranged by date, which provides the full text of Acts. It is held in the Library at 348.02
  • Acts of the UK Parliament provides full text of Acts from 1988, and some limited numbers from 1837 onwards. ( NB it does not provide subsequent amendments)
  • Acts of the Scottish Parliament provides full text of Acts from 1999.


  • The Library holds a few Bills and some publications about individual Bills. Use the keyword search on the Library Catalogue to check our holdings, eg housing bills (type your subject plus bills)
  • Parliament Bills web site provides access to the full text of Bills currently before Parliament
  • The Weekly Information Bulletin  provides access to bibliographic details about Bills from 1996 onwards. It provides complete lists of public bills and their progress through Parliament
  • See the Hansards section below to find information on debates on Bills.

Command Papers

  • The Library holds a number of Command Papers. A keyword search on command paper or cmnd on the Library Catalogue will give a list of all command papers. Search by keyword for particular topics, e.g 'command paper family'
  • Command papers online:

Consultation Documents and Papers

  • The Library holds a number of consultation documents or papers. A keyword search on the Library Catalogue for consultation document and your chosen topic, e.g 'planning consultation documents' will find all relevant items. To ensure you find all relevant items, do an additional search for 'planning consultation paper'
  • White Papers and Green Papers : these are government consultation documents and not parliamentary publications. The full text of White Papers and Green Papers are available on the web sites of the Government Departments publishing them.

Green Papers - see Consultation Documents and Papers


  • Hansards are the daily debates from Parliament.
  • The Hansards web site provides full text of many debates from 1988 onwards, most recent first. These include both debates from the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Law Commission Reports

  • The Library holds a number of reports and papers:
    Use the Library Catalogue to find details of our holdings, eg an author search on 'law commission' will find all publications, use keywords for reports on a particular subject.
  • The Law Commission web site contains summaries and full text of all recent reports and consultation papers.

Press Releases

Select Committees

Statutory Instruments

  • Statutory Instruments (SIs) are government orders or regulations made by a Minister under the authority of a specific Act
  • Halsburys Statutory Instruments at 348.02 HAL provides summaries and some full text SIs. There is an alphabetical and chronological listing as well as subject index
  • The Statutory Instruments web site provides access to the full text of (SIs) since 1997, arranged by year and SI number. Use the search engine to find SIs on a particular topic.

White Papers - see Consultation Documents and Papers

Government department publications

The Library holds many publications by different government departments.

  • The Library Catalogue provides details of our holdings e.g. an author search, 'Department of Health', will give details of all publications published by them. An author and keyword search on the catalogue will find publications on a topic published by a particular Department eg 'Department of Health' and 'special needs'
  • UK Government Web site : Directgov provides links to government departments which can provide a range of useful information, e.g. publications (details or full text), statistical information, links to other useful sites
  • Whitaker's Almanac at QR 052 WHI (in quick reference) details all government depts with addresses and contacts.

Statistical publications

  • The Library houses a separate collection of statistics at Headington and Wheatley. Use the Library Catalogue to find our holdings. Use the keyword search option on the Catalogue, eg 'morbidity statistics'
  • The Library guides : British Statistical Data and International Statistical Data will help you trace statistical information in the Library's collection, including relevant internet sources
  • UK Statistics Authority web site provides details of the range of publications produced by government and gives access to a range of statistics.

Grey literature

  • Grey Literature is material with little or no general distribution, it is not available through normal book selling channels. The Library Catalogue provides details of all our holdings.

News stories

  • Newspapers can provide relevant, up-to-date information on government issues, policies, reports and legislation. The Library's News and current affairs guide helps you trace information from newspapers.
  • Lexis Nexis Butterworths offers full text access to all the main UK daily newspapers.
  • Factiva is an international news database providing an archive of 10000 sources from 152 countries in 22 languages.

Useful internet sites

  • Europa: the official web site of the European Union includes news, official documents, statistics
  • Home Office: provides access to a range of information and publications
  • National Assembly for Wales: includes news, press releases, who's who, legislation
  • Northern Ireland Office online: news, press releases, topics, links
  • UK Statistics Authority: includes access to a range of statistics
  • Scottish Parliament: news, MSPs, publications
  • The Stationery Office: includes access to a catalogue of their publications
  • UK Government Web site : Directgov: provides access to a wide range of government information; search by organisation or topic
  • UK Official Documents: provides access to Command Papers, House of Commons Papers and key Departmental Papers from May 2005, with a selection of older papers also available
  • UK Parliament: includes many parliamentary publications, information about how parliament works, directory of MPs and details of committees. Select 'Parliamentary Publications and Archives' to access Acts, Bills, Hansards and Consultation Documents
  • United Nations: includes topics, documents, publications.
  • Gateways : a good way of finding good quality resources on the Web is to use subject gateways. These are sites where internet resources are collected, described and (sometimes) evaluated for a particular subject area. They include national and international information:

  • Political Sciences Resources ( Richard Kimber) - a gateway to the most relevant resources in Political Science, UK and International, including Government information
  • Intute: Social Sciences links to UK and World resources, including Government and Public Administration.