Northern Ireland Official Publications Collection at Queen’s University

Norma Menabney, NIOPA

 The Library at Queen’s University Belfast has historically played an important role in collecting Northern Ireland official publications and making them available to the research community and the wider public.

Print publications have been collected for many years under National Archives and earlier HMSO guidance that the Library should be treated as an official deposit library for Northern Ireland official publications. Since the formal cessation of print publication and move to electronic format, and in particular for the period of September 2015 onwards, the Library has focused on the creation of a digital archive of Northern Ireland official publications. The main focus of the work is to sustain the official publications collections for future generations.

The NIOPA team harvests documents from all Northern Ireland government official websites, adding monographs and serials to the archive for long term preservation using DSpace open source software. Associated document descriptions also enhance the ability of researchers to find the publications from a single source. With the full text search facility it is now possible to discover document content from the initial search query. As a result we are achieving a high search ranking within search engines such as Google. Our statistics and user feedback also tells us that content is being viewed internationally. Collection development guidelines for the archive have been agreed with the British Library and records and documents are supplied to the British Library to support its commitment to preserve digital works under the Legal Deposit Libraries (Non-Print Works) Regulations 2013.

The Northern Ireland Official Publications Archive, (NIOPA) is available at

Queen’s University’s status as an official deposit library for Northern Ireland official publications has enabled the Library to collect a wide range of Northern Ireland departmental publications in print and also includes a complete set of Parliamentary Papers for the Northern Ireland Parliament, along with Northern Ireland Assembly Papers for both the 1983-86 Assembly and the current Northern Ireland Assembly (1999 onwards).

The wider collection of the Library’s Official Publications includes an almost complete set of printed UK Parliamentary Papers from 1801 onwards along with selected copies of British and Irish departmental and agency publications along with more limited print collections of Council of Europe, Canadian, European Union, OECD and UN publications. The official publications collection in print consists of approximately 700 bays of print publications.


K & IM Refer 34 (1), Spring 2018


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