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Wilkes University

British Parliamentary Papers at Farley Library: Home

A guide to using the British Parliamentary Papers, which describe the activities


This guide is intended to provide background information for and walk students through the process of using the British Parliamentary Papers as sources at Farley Library. 

British Parliamentary Papers Overview

The British Parliamentary Papers document the activities of the British Parliament. The British Parliament is divided into two houses: Commons and Lords. There are three major categories of Parliamentary Papers: Sessional Papers, Debates, and Journals. Wilkes only owns sessional papers.

1. )Sessional Papers 

The working documents of a session of Parliament. There are three sub-categories of Sessional Papers:

  • Reports from Committees

           Committees investigate a subject, often pertaining to a particular bill, and provide a report to Parliament.

  • Standing Committees: Appointed by the Commons temporarily to debate a particular bill. 
  • Select Committees: Appointed to investigate a subject, such as the Royal Mint. 
  • Sessional Committees: Select committee that is re-appointed at every session. 
  • Joint Committee: Select committee with members from both Commons and Lords. 


  • Bills

           Proposed legislation that Parliament is considering making law. 

  • Commands

           Papers presented to Parliament by governmental ministers (the executive branch of the British Government). 

2.) Debates

Record of discussion and debate on the floor of Parliament. 

3.) Journals

Record of proceedings and decisions made in Parliament. 

Using the Parliamentary Papers as a Primary Source

The Parliamentary Papers provide detailed primary source material on British monetary policy and trade and industry. To locate them, Search the Classic Catalog for "IUP library of fundamental source books", the series name for the version of the parliamentary papers held at Wilkes. 

Once you have searched for our parliamentary papers, click the title of an individual volume to view its contents. Look for the location and call number to locate the volume in the library, and use the information the overview box on this page to help interpret your the primary material. 

Electronic Resources Librarian

Heather Bowman's picture
Heather Bowman
Farley Library, 202A
Subjects:Education, LGBTQA