The genesis of the Gazetteer units at the Centre and in most of the states can be traced to the recommendations of the Expert Committee appointed by the Union Government in 1955. By that time, in a few states (like Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu) Gazetteer units were already functioning for some years. Therefore, the various other State Governments also set up offices for preparation and publication of District Gazetteers at the instance of the union Government, and left it to the individual states to employ larger or smaller staff.
The Gazetteer unit in this State was started in the middle of the Second Plan Period in 1958 and the scheme has been continued till this date. The unit was earlier attached to the General Administration Department for purposes of administration. It is at present under the administrative control of the Department of Information, Tourism and Kannada & Culture. There is an Advisory Committee of distinguished men of letters with the Chief secretary as the Chairman.
The first re-oriented series started after the dawn of Independence and there was no hierarchy doing this work. Since it was a new venture of an extra ordinary character, the approach to this State was prudently cautious; drawing upon the examples of the units of neighbouring states of Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. As such the department was set up to bring out independent district Gazetteers coupled with the revision of gazetteers. Each Gazetteer is similar to an encyclopaedia on various information of the districts considered to be most valuable, authentic and comprehensive publication depicting all aspects of history, culture, folklore, etc, of the region. After collecting various source materials the preparation of chapters covering people, history, sociology, economics, banking, trade and commerce, industries, education and medical services, other departments and places of interest ; giving highlights of the district based on Government Plan Programmes and policies. Therefore the publication of the Gazetteer constitutes an authenticated source for the use of Government departments, general public and for historical research.
Realizing the importance of Gazetteer publication, Government has also taken up along with Kannada, the English versions of Gazetteer publication for the purpose of popularizing its rich history and culture outside the state and country. So far, the district Gazetteer of Kodugu, Dharwad, Gulbarga, Bijapur Mandya and Kolar had been brought out as revised editions. Few district gazetteers are out of print, which are in great demand from the public. Therefore the department has sent proposals to the government for the re-print of the old rare Gazetteers (both pre and post Independence publications) Under the said scheme the Bijapur district Gazetteer (1881) had been reprinted in 2001.
So far, the department has brought outall the twenty (20) districts Gazetteers, (English Editions) Karnataka State volume, its decennial supplement both in Kannada & English and the Handbook of Karnataka and its revised editions.The department has also taken up extensive survey and collection of important materials for the preparation ofChitradurgaandChamarajanagardistricts. Work on Mandya District Gazetteer is almost over and is in press. The department is bringing out the taluk gazetteers of Mysore district as a pilot project.