Government Information Sources Provided by The Stationery Office

Gareth Vaughan

TSO Bibliographic Services, Williams Lea Parliamentary Press London 

TSO is one of the largest publishers by volume in the UK, publishing more than 9,000 titles a year in print and digital formats for a wide range of clients. We are part of the Williams Lea Group, one of the global leaders in corporate information solutions.

The main sources available from The Stationery Office for official information are as follows:

Official Publication Online (OPO) – web based subscription service offering searchable access to the following: Legislation, Command and House papers, Hansard, Bills, Votes and Proceedings, Select Committee Reports, as well as other published materials e.g. Fingermark Visualisation Manual: Home Office (CAST); Fire Manuals and Risk Assessment Guides; World War One Centenary Archive – 100 official government documents relating to WW1.

TSO Shop – this includes a html version of the Daily List and profiles key parliamentary titles published on the day, as well as been searchable for other titles by keyword, ISBN and title.

Daily List – available online via TSO Shop and a pdf via OPO.

Weekly List – brings together all the Daily Lists from one week, available as a pdf on OPO.

London gazette statutory publications supplements (monthly and annual) – lists all Statutory Instruments, Statutory Rules of Northern Ireland, Scottish Statutory Instruments, Public Generals Acts, Scottish Parliament Acts, Acts of the Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly along with explanatory notes for the month or the year, available in print and then via TSO’s On-Demand Service.

TSO Monthly Catalogues – all titles issued by The Stationery Office or on behalf of international agencies published during a particular month, available as pdf via TSO Shop.

TSO annual and agency catalogues – available as print.

UKOP – updated daily with titles from daily list, no longer includes departmental titles not published by TSO.

The Stationery Office itself was taken over by Williams Lea in 2007 and had itself existed since the privatisation of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office (HMSO) in 1996, an organisation that had existed for over 200 years prior to that date.

The role of Williams Lea has been one of continuity, with the publishing and printing of government information alongside tools to trace and identify what has been published.

Until the growth of the Internet and online services, HMSO and then The Stationery Office published titles from across government departments. Although TSO works with many departments providing information management solutions, a great deal of government departmental publishing now appears online which can be accessed through

The bibliographic information included in the above resources is catalogued via an in-house system called BDMS or the Bibliographic Database Management System and follows the cataloguing standard of AACR2 with some local variation.

Bibliographic catalogue information is also provided through feeds and various outputs such as UKMARC, MARC21, ONIX and Dublin Core to outside organisations such as libraries and the book trade.

All the above sources of information rely on the Bibliographic Department to catalogue and update the BDMS system so that the bibliographic records can then be extracted and used to produce the catalogues, lists and feeds as appropriate.

Therefore all official publishing for which The Stationery Office is responsible will appear in the above information sources. Although HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) publications produced by contract between Williams Lea and The National Archives are only printed and published for Parliament and supply to the Copyright Libraries. A TSO equivalent for many of the HMG issued titles (excepting the majority of annual reports and accounts) are produced with a TSO ISBN for supply to customers and resale.

Statutory and Parliamentary titles are the main titles in terms of quantity printed and published by The Stationery Office, but there are still a number of government departments and agencies that also have titles which we print and publish. For example the Drivers and Vehicles Standards Agency. DVSA produces theory tests and DVD guides to driving. Also The Stationery Office still publishes the Highway Code, from the Department of Transport, which was first issued in 1931.

The London Gazette is also still published by the Stationery Office, one of the oldest surviving English newspapers having being originally published as the Oxford Gazette in 1665 and celebrating its 350th anniversary this year.

Some publishing statistics by type.

Publication types 2014 calendar year
Primary legislation    133
Secondary legislation – printed 2,520
Secondary legislation – non-prints 2,089
Parliamentary* 2,529
Northern Ireland Assembly 275
Gazettes 1,236
Client    252
HM Government    619
International sales agency 976
Correction slips    (98)
Total (excl. correction slips) 10,629
  • includes unnumbered act papers, TSO versions of official publications, Scottish PP – type publications, PGA/SI bound vols etc 
Electronic publications 2014 to date
CD/DVD/USB (including mixed packs) 57
PDFs** 672

** Include Vote, Daily/weekly list and other titles for OPO

With Official Publications Online or OPO, searchable access is provided for official publications, and PDFs can be downloaded for titles. The OPO Library is updated on a daily basis with official materials published by TSO and also House and Command Papers as released by TNA. Some recent OPO statistics:

There are currently 41,932 documents on OPO:

Pre 2000           272

2000-2007         601

2008                 1001

2009                 6044

2010                 5702

2011                 6267

2012                 6093

2013                 6604

2014                 6483

2015                 2865

The above shows the total publishing output of The Stationery Office in 2014, covering all types of publication. There are still a lot of titles printed and published, although online provision of information is the direction of publishing particularly in respect of official information.

The developments of online access to information has led to the provisions of the Open Government Licence as delivered by The National Archives and developed by the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office which enables information providers in the public sector to licence the use and re-use of information under a common licence.

The impact to publishing companies, in the way government information is provided and accessed will naturally change publishing practices. Also the volume of publishing by government itself means that as a business, Williams Lea (Public Sector) will print and publish to supply their clients and customers as required. All Parliamentary and Statutory titles (excepting HMG) once the print run has been completed and publications supplied are then made On-Demand and are available to order through this service.


Refer 31 (2) Summer 2015


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