|Any research worker who has used the British Parliamentary Papers will know that the material in its original form presents great difficulties. The work of Luke Hansard on the collections and indexes shows that he was aware of this; but even he could not foresee the multiplication of complexities in the years to come.|
It has been shown why significant collections of Parliamentary Papers are so rare; but the few good collections that do exist have seldom been used as they should because of the formidable problems they pose for the researcher. For example, a detailed study of the Slave Trade and its abolition requires the consultation of several hundred folio volumes, many of which might contain but a single important return on one leaf. The physical task alone would daunt the most ardent researcher.
How obvious it is that all the material on this important subject should be abstracted and gathered together into one set of volumes, chronologically arranged. Irish University Press did this, not alone for the Slave Trade but for papers relating to some eighty other subjects.
IUP editors identified and grouped into sets of volumes all the basic source material on a wide range of significant subject areas from the whole range of nineteenth-century Parliamentary Papers. These subject sets constitute invaluable and hitherto unavailable research units for scholars and librarians.