Foreign Official Gazette Cataloging Completed

Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Amy Wood -

The Center for Research Libraries recently completed cataloging its extensive Foreign Official Gazette (FOG) collection, with holdings that date from 1665; 161 countries are represented in 582 records. About one-tenth of the physical collection is in original format. The collection was cataloged with MARC records, which are now in the CRL catalog and in OCLC’s WorldCat. 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 including title changes, specific publication properties or content, and physical condition. A list of all titles is now available.

An official gazette is the legal newspaper of a country, or of a major administrative unit of a country, which publishes the texts 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.

Individual libraries and institutions have long collected official gazettes as key primary sources. Over its sixty-year history, CRL has amassed, by means of deposit, area studies microfilm projects, direct subscription, and cooperative projects, a substantial collection of gazettes, with particular strengths in Africa, Latin America, and South and South-East Asia. During the 1960s, CRL participated in a cooperative filming project with The New York Public Library (NYPL) and The Library of Congress (LC ) and obtained all microfilm of gazettes produced for that decade. From 1970 to the mid-’90s, NYPL and LC participated in a joint preservation microfilming effort. LC assumed responsibility for microfilming materials from Latin America, and North Africa (Arabic speaking); NYPL was responsible for Western Europe, the Caribbean (English speaking), Sub-Saharan Africa, and sub-national jurisdictions. In 1995, a new cooperative effort was initiated to establish a retrospective collection-of-record of official gazettes at CRL. Between 1998 and 2000, The New York Public Library gradually deposited its substantial holdings of unique official gazettes with CRL.

The original FOG database, which contains records for approximately 650 gazette titles, remains available at CRL. The records in the FOG database 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


For more information on this collection, visit the Official Gazettes topic guide.