An official gazette is the legal newspaper of a country, or of an administrative part of a country, which publishes the text of new laws, decrees, regulations, treaties, legal notices, and court decisions. The laws published in official gazettes are primary law in the official source; publication in the gazette, in many cases, initiates jurisdiction. The text published is the authoritative version, and commonly, the only published version.
FOG DatabaseThe Foreign Official Gazette database (FOG) contains records for approximately 650 official gazette titles from countries outside the United States. It serves as a “union list” of holdings within the major collections residing in North America, encompassing both CRL holdings as well as the holdings of five other major libraries. More information can be found in the FAQ.
Many gazettes include content in addition to primary law. In the category of politics and administration: news of the government, its various branches, agencies and bodies is commonly published, including reports of governmental action, decisions, progress, and plans. Notification of police action, arrests, detentions and subsequent court decisions can also be contained. In some cases, gazettes are the only source of news as they are the only publications in which the reporting of world or local news is recognized as legitimate by the government. In the category of education: gazettes can contain certain documentation of the granting of degrees, the results of examinations, and notification of accreditation. The field of economics is served as gazettes publish budgets, trade and employment statistics, cargo lists, agricultural reports, trademarks, notices of incorporation, and notification of government auctions. Genealogical and sociological studies can benefit from the common inclusion of death notices, obituaries, demographic statistics, and names and addresses. Even the study of literature is aided by the full text publication of items receiving literary awards. Each official gazette is different, meeting the needs of its country it its own way and will not always contain all possibilities.
Gazettes are printed on a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule, many look like newspapers; they may have volume numbers and issue numbers; they may be published regularly, or irregularly; they are commonly issued in several parts and have special or extraordinary issues; they, infrequently, contain indexes. The format of a given gazette is subject to frequent change and differs from country to country. Gazettes are published in the official language of the country of origin.
Gazettes are used to access primary law in its official source, and by those seeking the text of laws, decrees, regulations, treaties, legal notices and court decisions. The variant content cited above, in addition to Law, holds possible application to the fields of History, Political Science, Sociology, Economics and to specific studies of distinct areas of the world.
The FOG database contains records for approximately 650 gazette titles. These records cite information including the name of country at time of publication; any and all name changes for that country; the exact title at time of publication; detailed statements of holdings; and notes citing a variety of information such as: title changes, specific publication properties or content, and physical condition.
While the Center retains significant holdings of official gazettes, major collections will continue to exist beyond CRL, both in North America and internationally. The building of a consortium of interest in, and holdings of, official gazettes broadens access for all. Therefore, the records in the FOG database contain issue specific holding statements for the Center’s gazettes, and, also, summarize the holdings of the following institutions:
- Harvard University, Law School Library
- Los Angeles County Law Library
- The Library of Congress, Law Library
- The New York Public Library
- University of Michigan, Law Library
The database therefore serves as a “union list” of holdings within the major collections residing in North America. In addition, specifically unique holdings of other bodies such as the National Archives of England, Wales and the United Kingdom and vendors such as the Association pour la Conservation et la Reproduction Photographique de la Presse are occasionally mentioned.
In formulating the entries contained in this database all discernable time periods and titles for each country were considered. This resulted in records for titles for which CRL has no holdings, but, for which holdings exist in other major collections. These records are included in the database. Inclusion of information on titles or holdings outside of CRL, is part of the attempt to address the corpus of publication for official gazettes through 1995.
Individual libraries and institutions have collected official gazettes for a long period of time. In its 50+ year history CRL has obtained, by means of deposit, area studies microfilm projects, direct subscription, and cooperative projects, a substantial collection of gazettes with certain strengths in Africa, Latin America, and South and South-East Asia. During the 1960's the Center participated in a cooperative filming project with The New York Public Library (NYPL) and The Library of Congress (LC ) and obtained all microfilm produced for that decade. From 1970-approximately,1995, NYPL and LC participated in a joint agreement to engage in preservation microfilming. Under the terms of that agreement LC was responsible for Latin America, and North Africa (Arabic speaking); NYPL was responsible for Western Europe, the Caribbean (English speaking), Sub-Saharan Africa, and sub-nationals. The New York Public Library, during the period of 1998-2000, progressively deposited to the Center’s collection, its substantial holdings of unique official gazettes.
In 1995, a new cooperative effort was initiated the goal of which was to establish a retrospective collection of record for official gazettes at The Center for Research Libraries. The collection would contain all national level gazettes for all countries; publication dates for materials held will be from inception through 1995. The primary focus of the collection will be to preserve materials on microfilm; unique hard copy will be retained until microfilm is acquired or produced. Work on this project was overseen by a Task Force. This Task Force represented a consortium of interest in, and major holders of, gazettes in the U.S..