Cataloging British and Irish government documents

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Accurate and meaningful authorized access points for works emanating from, or principally recording the activities of, the governments of England, England and Wales, Great Britain, Scotland, and Ireland are particularly important in sorting and giving them order.


England: 927-1536
England and Wales: 1536-1707
Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales): 1707-
Scotland: -1707
Ireland: -1801

Policy and formulation

Folger catalogers deviate from RDA in creating authorized access points for British and Irish government documents, choosing instead to follow the lead of the ESTC. The purpose in doing so is 1) most or all of the cataloging copy for these materials come from the ESTC, and 2) a hierarchical uniform title formulation allows for easy search and sorting of acts, proclamations, etc., in contrast to the disorganization that would result from RDA instructions on access points for laws.

  • Use the name valid for the government that issued the document.
  • For collections of acts of the English and British Parliament and other enacted laws that are complete within a chronological period, use
240 10 Public general acts. 1685-1707
  • For collections of acts and other enacted laws corresponding to a particular session of Parliament, use the collective uniform title followed by the ESTC citation, which is formulated by a combination of the calendar year of enactment, the reigning monarch's regnal year.
240 10 Public general acts. 1731. 4 Geo.II
  • For selected collections of acts, &c., add the form term |k Selections at the end. (Deviation from ESTC style)
240 10 Public general acts. 1742. |k Selections
  • For individual acts, &c., use the uniform title as above, but add the chapter number.
240 10 Public general acts. 1731. 4 Geo.II.c.6 
  • For Scottish laws and other kinds of documents (e.g., bills, parliamentary papers, bills, proclamations, speeches, treaties), consult the head of cataloging.

Examples in Hamnet