Why use Official Publications?
There is a huge amount of material being published (much of it electronically) covering a wide array of subjects ranging from enterprise to the environment and from research institutes to transport. The publications themselves vary in format from annual reports to statistical data and from consultation documents to Parliamentary Acts. It is important that relevant sources of official publications are checked as part of the literature search carried out for essay or project work, as much important and useful information is contained here.
How to get an Official Publication
- Check LibrarySearch to see if we take it
- Check the website of the body publishing the material or the links suggested in this guide to see if it can be downloaded.
- Use our Inter Library Loan service to request a copy or contact your Subject Librarian for help.
Where to find Official Publications
Official Publications in Scotland
The Scottish Parliament is committed to holding a full electronic record of the business of the Parliament. This includes the work of the many committees, the legislative process (Bills, Acts of the Scottish Parliament (asp) and Scottish Statutory Instruments) and a range of other publications such as the Business Bulletin, The Official Report (on the previous day in Parliament) and the Official Report: Committee sessions.
Links to publications can be found on the Parliamentary Business page
Legislation of the Scottish Parliament can be found at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ or Westlaw database in LibrarySearch
The Scottish Government website - find information about directorates and public bodies, search for publications or browse by topic
Official Publications in England and the UK
Reserved matters dealt with by the UK Parliament at Westminster and not the Scottish Parliament include:
Constitutional Issues Immigration and nationality
Defence Social security benefits
Foreign policy (includes the EU)
The UK Parliament website has a Parliamentary Business area where you can access Hansard, publications from the House of Commons and House of Lords, committee publications and Bills and Legislation.
Legislation of the Westminster (UK) Parliament can be found at: https://www.legislation.gov.uk/
You can search for Government departments, agencies and public bodies on the UK Government website
The Welsh Parliament or Senedd Cymru has legislation, documents and reports in the Business section of the website.
You can browse publications from the Welsh Government website homepage.
The Northern Ireland Assembly website has links to publications from its homepage.
European and International Official Publications
Europa is the official website of the EU and provides access to a wide variety of publications.
The Publications Office of the European Union publishes the publications of the institutions of the European Union and manages several websites.
EUR-LEX provides free access to European Union law.
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) has an e-library section.
United Nations - use the Databases section to access official documents, treaties, statistics and archives.
World Bank provides statistics and publications relating to global development.
World Trade Organisation - use the Documents, Data and Resources section for access to the official documents of the WTO's councils and committees as well as to resources, such as trade statistics and economic research.
The British Library has a large collection of official publications from the middles ages to the present day.
The National Library of Scotland has a rich collection of official publications including the proceedings of The Scottish Parliament from the first surviving act of 1235 to the union of 1707 and a full-text digital archive of House of Commons parliamentary papers back to 1715. E resources are only available to registered Library users living in Scotland.
The Scottish Working Forum on Official Publications maintains a Directory of Official Publications in Scotland which contains brief details of organisations which maintain collections of official publications in Scotland and details of publishers of official publications.
The National Archive is the official public archive of the United Kingdom government.