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Statistical abstract of Punjab, 1970. From CRL Collections
Statistical abstract of Punjab, 1970. From CRL Collections

Agencies and offices of national, state, province, and local governments produce reports, statutes, documents, statistical data sets, and other materials that serve as primary sources for research in a range of humanities and social science fields. The years since World War II also gave rise to a number of intergovernmental organizations, like the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Health Organization, NATO, and others, which also aggregate and generate important statistical, financial, and economic development-related literature.  

Until the 1990s, materials produced by  governments and intergovernmental organizations were largely published in print, microform, and CD-ROM, and distributed gratis to repository libraries and national libraries. They were acquired by other libraries through exchange agreements and purchase. Laws, statutes, treaties, and other legal materials published by foreign governments were also distributed widely to repository libraries and actively collected by many of the major law libraries in the U.S., as source materials for the study of international law.

Since the 1990s, national and state governments in most countries, and many intergovernmental organizations, have posted their publications and data directly to the web, making current materials much more widely available than in the past. In  most instances, however, only the most recent or current documents tend to be maintained on government websites. Content that is not current—or that is objectionable to the current regimes—but still may be important for research purposes, often disappears. Moreover, data provided by many emerging nations is often not structured in ways that make it difficult to reaggregate and use.

Globalization and declining public-sector funding have made information about foreign governments, and analysis of that information, highly marketable commodities. For commercial publishers such as LexisNexis and Westlaw, and analytical services including Bloomberg, McKinsey, and the Economist Intelligence Unit, aggregating and synthesizing government- and IGO-produced information, and making that material available in derivative, added-value products, have become a stock-in-trade.

CRL Collections

    CRL’s collection contains extensive holdings of foreign government publications, information, and data. It includes several hundred thousand volumes of publications from more than 100 foreign governments and their agencies. The collection consists primarily of administrative, legislative, and statistical materials, primarily from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Holdings are particularly strong for Western Europe and Latin America, but also contain material from all world regions.

    The retrospective holdings were built through deposits by CRL libraries of infrequently-held published materials. Beginning in 1955, CRL began collecting specific types of publications: statistical reports, parliamentary proceedings, and science, technology, and agriculture journals issued by government agencies. Holdings of retrospective material are not completely represented in CRL's catalog -- titles are cataloged on an “as encountered” basis.

    A major part of the current foreign documents collection consists of materials received as part of the Library of Congress Cooperative Acquisitions Project program. These are central, state, and provincial documents primarily from India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore. 

    Referenced below are many of the strengths of CRL’s holdings. Links point to detailed descriptions in the CRL catalog, digital versions of the publications and digitized finding aids for microfilm. Additional entries for government publications and information (for example, legislative debates) may be found in topic guides for particular countries or regions. 

    See also:

    Government Agency Publications

    Foreign Central Bank Reports
    late 19th century to present

    CRL receives a variety of economic and statistical serial publications issued by the national banks or principal private banks of various foreign countries. For more information see Collection Description.

    Social and economic development plans; national plans for economic and social development.
    IDC Publishers (Brill)

    This set contains microfiche reproductions of development plans from over 150 countries throughout the world. CRL holds reports covering 1950 to 2000. Guide available from Access Services Department.

    Catalog Record · Guide

    Intergovernmental Organizations

    United Nations Publications
    United Nations
    Readex Microprint

    United Nations documents in microprint (CRL holds 19541981). The microprint edition provides a complete collection of the mimeographed and printed documents of the main UN bodies, including:

    • General Assembly (Plenary Meetings, Annexes, Resolutions, Supplements)
    • Economic and Social Council
    • Security Council (Meetings, Annexes, Supplements) 
    • Trusteeship Council

    The collection does not include documents of the UN Secretariat unless they carry a joint symbol of one of the other bodies.

    The collection also contains documents from various organs and specialized agencies of the United Nations bodies, including:

    • Disarmament Commission
    • Atomic Energy Commission
    • Trade and Development Programme
    • Industrial Development Organization
    • Institute for Training and Research

     The microprint edition also includes the Journal of the United Nations beginning in 1960.

    Statistical Reports

    African official statistical serials on microfiche.
    Chadwyck-Healey (ProQuest)

    Includes statistical yearbooks, bulletins, and other statistical sources published by African national governments (43 countries represented). Topics cover demography, administration, finance, commerce, industry, labor, agriculture, education, law, and public health. Titles are cataloged separately: click here to browse by series.

    Catalog Record
    British Government Publications Containing Statistics, 1801-1965.

    This microfilm set includes statistical serials from various British agencies (including Parliament). The 600,000 pages of reports cover social, economic, and industrial statistics. CRL’s holdings (cataloged individually by title) include the “Annual statement of the trade of the United Kingdom,” “Trade and navigation accounts,” and many other titles.

    Catalog Record · Guide
    European official statistical serials.

    CRL holds the following volumes:

    Catalog Record
    Fuken tokei
    Yushodo Film Publications

    This is the Collection of the statistical annuals of the respective prefectures in Japan for Meiji era, 1873-1912. The collection of annuals for the Taisho and Showa eras is continued in Taisho Showa nenkan fuken tokeisho shusei.

    GUIDE: Meiji nenkan fuken tokeisho shusei : maikurofuirumuban : shurokusho somokuroku. B-34673

    Catalog Record
    Latin American and Caribbean official statistical serials on microfiche.

    The serials are general statistical compendia issued by the governments of 37 countries, territories, and departments in Latin American and the Caribbean. The fiche includes these serials from 1821 to about 1973. CRL holds the complete first segment, and also has hardcopy holdings of some of the titles in its foreign documents collections.

    Catalog Record · Guide
    Taisho Showa nenkan fuken tokeisho shusei.
    Yushodo Film Publications

    Microfilm reproductions of approximately 4,550 vols. of statistical annuals of the prefectures of Japan during the Taisho and Showa eras (covering 191341).  Titles in this series are organized by individual prefectures (Aichi, Hokkaido, Kyoto, Tokyo, etc.).

    Catalog Record
    Trade statistics of Asian countries on microfilm.
    Institute of Asian Economic Affairs
    Maruzen Co.

    Microfilm (64 reels) of trade reports and statistics for 195261 issued by the governments and other institutions of Asian countries. Covers reports for Burma, Cambodia, Ceylon, China (Formosa), Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Laos, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, and misc. reports from Brunei, North Borneo, Sarawak, and Ryuku. Titles cataloged separately.

    Catalog Record
    Zemstvo Statistics : Russia c. 1870-1917.
    Pries, Anne
    IDC (Brill)
    c. 1870-1917

    The set includes statistical material published by the Zemstvo, as well as general works and local studies in this field. Material concerns agrarian development and the peasantry of the 19th-20th centuries and includes demographic statistics, data on health and medical care, primary education and libraries, meterological data, data about large estates, handcrafts and industry in cities. CRL holds an incomplete set (covering titles RZ1-RZ408 as indexed in the collection guide). Individual titles are cataloged separately.

    Catalog Record · Guide

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