Skip to Main Content
Michigan State University

Finding British Parliamentary Papers in the M.S.U. Libraries, 2007 edition: Parliamentary, or Sessional, Papers--Indexing

This is a guide to doing research with British government documents, particularly Parliamentary documents, emphasizing electronic access and information. Last updated 06-05-2023

Parliamentary, or Sessional, Papers--Indexing

Citations in scholarly literature, in bibliographies, and in some indexing sources to Parliamentary, or Sessional, papers have these elements: Document title, session year, paper number (if given), volume number (a roman numeral) within the session year, and volume page number. For example: Estimate for Completing Exhibition Building 1863 (382) XXIX 381.

Using the online indexing features of the web sites in the Parliamentary, or Sessional, Papers--Full texts section of this guide is usually easy enough.  Using the Sessional indexes for the micro sets is difficult. But here are some paper indexes, just in case the online indexing is insufficient.

Index to the House of Commons Parliamentary Papers, 1901-1996 J 301 .K25 1996 CD-ROM in DMC Digital and Multimedia Center 4th floor West

Indexes House of Commons papers, command papers, bills, accounts, acts, and returns. From here, use microprint set #10 or microfiche J 301 .K5 or .K6 Hollander Make Central, 2nd floor west. Not so good for foreign policy material. For those, see the next entry.

Century of Diplomatic Blue Books, 1814-1914 Z 2009 .T28 Main
Breviate of British Diplomatic Blue Books, 1919-1939 Z 2009 .V6 Main

Citations to foreign affairs items. For each Prime Minister’s administration there are two chapters. One discusses the policies of that administration; the other provides citations to blue books, the documents. Subject index at back. Write down the citation: document title, session year, paper number (if given), volume number (a roman numeral), page number. From here, use microprint #10.

British Government Publications, an Index to Chairmen of Committees and Commissions of Inquiry, 1800-1978.  Z 2009 .R535 1982 v. 1-3

Numerical Finding List of British Command Papers Published 1833-1961/1962. Z 2009 .D5 Main (1967 ed.); 1971 ed. in Remote Storage.

The purpose of this volume is to help researchers ascertain the volume in the Sessional Papers in which any particular Command Paper whose number is known may be found between 1833 and 1961/1962. The only information provided after the command number and session year is the volume number and pages where the document is located in the Sessional Papers. Use this if you have reference to a Command Paper by number but lack information on the session year, volume number, and page.  Then take this information and go to the Hollander Make Central on 2nd floor west of the Main Library and use Microprint #10, the Sessional Papers on microcards.  

Parliament, Inventions and Patents, a Research Guide and Bibliography  Business Library oversize KD 1361 .J64 2018

Author is Phillip Johnson, prof. of commercial law at Cardiff University, Wales.  Goal is to identify all the Parliamentary material relating to patents and supporting inventions up to the beginning of the 1976-77 Session, when the European patent system began.  Deals with the development of patent law, oversight of the work of the Patent Office, and [patent] awards given to individuals, in order for scholars to be able to study more completely the history of technology, invention, and patent law.  8 parts: public legislation (acts and bills), private acts and bills, Old Scottish and Irish Parliaments' Acts relating to inventions, list of statutes and rules passed about parliamentary material, rewards granted by Parliament, the various Parliamentary papers and reports into the patent system, the petitions lodged with Parliament relating to patent law and inventions, questions asked of ministers and mentions of patents and significant mentions of inventions.  Indexed by inventor, company, invention/product, parliamentarian (MP), legislation (by year), cases, and general index. 


There are a great many older, printed indexes and bibliographies for identifying citations to particular Parliamentary documents. They are listed in section II.B. of the 2000 edition of Finding British Parliamentary Papers in the M.S.U. Libraries