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United Nations Documents at UC Berkeley


The Library of the University of California, Berkeley has been a United Nations depository library since 1946, and maintains a collection of documents from the Conference on International Organizations (San Francisco: 1945) at which the United Nations was founded. This guide includes information emanating from five of the six principal UN organs: the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, Security Council, Secretariat, and Trusteeship Council. Publications of the sixth principal organ, the International Court of Justice or World Court, are collected by the Law Library.

Background Information

1. Basic Facts about the United Nations. New York: UN Dept of Public Information, 1947- JX1977 A366B35 Doe Reference (latest). General introduction to the role and function of the UN and its related agencies.

2. Chronology and Fact Book of the United Nations. Kumiko Matsuura (ed.). 8th ed. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana, 1992. JX1977 H641 1992 Doe Reference Govt/Stat . An irregular supplement to the Annual Review of United Nations Affairs item 6), this publication includes a chronological survey of UN-related events, reproduces the UN Charter, rules of procedure for each organ, and membership tables for each of the UN bodies.

3. Yearbook of the United Nations. New York: UN Dept of Public Information (co-published by MartinusNijhoff since 1989), 1949- JX1977 A37U65 GREF Annual authoritative publication on the activities of the organization during its most recent year. Includes extensive surveys of the activities of the principal organs with reference to resolutions, decisions, and major reports. Key resolutions are reprinted in full. Extensive subject index. Includes summaries of activities of the major IGOs.

4. Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements. Edmund Jan Osmanczyk. 2nd ed. New York: Taylor and Francies, 1990. JX1977 O8213 1990 Doe Reference Govt/Stat. Extremely useful encyclopedia of information related to IGO's or international governmental organization, including definitions of key terms, biographies, and the descriptions and selected texts of major international treaties, conventions and agreements.

5. United Nations Handbook. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of External Relations and Trade. 1976- JX1977 U47 Doe Reference (latest) Annual list of UN organs, agencies, Specialized Agencies, regional development banks. Descriptions include functions, structure, current membership and activities.

Current Information

6. Annual Review of United Nations Affairs. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana, 1949- JX1977 A1A5 GREF (latest 3 years). Reprints key UN documents reflecting the work of the organization on an annual basis.

7. A Global Agenda: Issues Before the...General Assembly of the United Nations. New York: United Nations Association--USA, 1974- JX1977.A1.U5244a Doe Reference (latest).

8. UN Chronicle. New York: UN, 1950- JX1977 A1U4 GREF (unbound journals). Quarterly magazine containing a summary of latest activities at the UN. Indexed with some articles full-text, in Expanded Academic ASAP.


9. Europa World Year Book. London: Europa, 1978- AY754 E783 Doe Reference (latest) Extensive descriptions of the United Nations principal organs, related and autonomous agencies, and a large number of regional and functional IGOs. Descriptions include addresses, phone and fax numbers, organizational histories and goals, and major publications.

10. Permanent Missions to the United Nations. New York: United Nations, 1946- . JX1977 A36P44 Doe Reference (latest) Semiannual publication listing members of permanent missions to UN Headquarters, including member countries, countries with observer status, and other international governmental organizations. Also includes listing of current membership of the Security Council, Economic and Social Council, International Court of Justice, and the Trusteeship Council.

Online Databases

11. AccessUN. (UCB Only). The Readex Index to United Nations Documents. Newsbank/Readex. 1946-. Indexes current and retrospective United Nation documents and publications. Also included is the full-text of several thousand UN documents. Most of the publications in the index are in the companion Readex microfiche "United Nations Documents & Publications" from 1984 -. (GREF Microfiche 10982.)

12. UNBISnet. Contains bibliographic files with citations to UN publications and documentation indexed by the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöd Library in New York and the Library of the UN Office at Geneva. UNBISnet also has files containing an index to speeches, voting records, and resolutions (some full-text).

13. United Nations Official Documents System. Full-text of United Nations documents, including legislative documents and official records since 1993, resolutions of the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council and the Trusteeship Council from 1946 onwards.

14. UN-I-QUE. Ready reference database providing quick access to UN document symbols. It focuses upon documents of a recurrent nature: annual reports of commissions, reports periodically/irregularly issued; reports of conferences, and statements in the General Assembly. (Coverage from 1946 - ).

Print Indexes

15. Index to the Proceedings of... There are indexes to the proceedings of each of four principal organs. These are detailed indexes to the Official Records for each organ (see separate section covering the Official Records below), including subject, speaker, and country/corporate name indexes. Most recent years of the General Assembly and Economic and Social Council indexes also include voting tables.

...the Economic and Social Council (1952- ) JX1977 A3653 I55 GREF
...the General Assembly (1950/51- ) JX1977 A3653 I56 GREF
...the Security Council (1964- ) JX1977 A3653 I57 GREF
...the Trusteeship Council (1952- ) JX1977 A3653 I58 GREF

16. UNDEX. (1970-1978). This index served as the general index to UN publishing between the Documents Index (item 17 below) and UNDOC (item 16). Issued in three series: a subject index, country index, and list of documents issued.

17. UNDOC: Current Index. 1979- JX1977 A12A35 GREF (1979-1983) Microfiche 8670 GREF (1984- ) The most comprehensive official UN index for publications of the UN, including masthead documents, sales publications, and official records. Since 1984, monthly paper issues are superceded by annual cumulations on fiche.

18. United Nations Documents Index. (1950-1973) JX1977 A12A3 GREF. First general index to UN masthead documents, sales publications, and official records.

Official Records

The Official Records of the United Nations contain a wide range of documents, including final versions of meeting records, resolutions, decisions, agendas, and key documents presented to meeting participants. They also include in the case of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, regular reports on the activities of subsidiary organs or agencies whose activities they are responsible for coordinating. They are indexed in depth in the various Indexes to the Proceedings (item 15) as well as AccessUN.

Prior to 1985, the Official Records for each principal organ were bound as a set. The call numbers are provided below.

19.. Official Records of the Economic and Social Council. (ESCOR) 1946-1984. JX1977 A61 Main

20. Official Records of the General Assembly. (GAOR) 1946-1984, sess.1-39. JX1977 A41 Main

21. Official Records of the Security Council. (SCOR) 1946-1984. JX1977 A51 Main

22. Official Records of the Trade and Development Board. (TDBOR) 1965-1984. JX1977 A78T717O34 Main

23. Official Records of the Trusteeship Council. (TCOR) 1947-1984. JX1977 A71 Main

Once a reference to an Official Record citation is found using either an electronic or paper index, the user may wish to consult the appropriate finding guide indicated in numbers 24-26 below, in order to determine which volume in the sets listed above contains the document in question.

24. United Nations Official Records, 1948-1962. JX1977 A3645U53 1962 GREF

25. United Nations Official Records, 1962-1981. JX1977 A3645U53 1982 GREF

26. United Nations Official Records, 1981-1984. JX1977 A12U55 1984 GREF

Since 1985, all the Official Records have been individually cataloged and entered on separate records. They can be located by searching Pathfinder under the name of the agency or body as a corporate author search, or by searching MELVYL as a periodical search.

Masthead Documents

Formerly known as "mimeographed documents," the masthead documents are by far the largest category of publication. They include materials designed to serve as a basis for discussion at UN meetings and include reports, memoranda, studies, working papers, agendas, draft and final resolutions, decisions, and meeting records.

Berkeley's collection for 1946-1988 is bound and stored in the Northern Regional Library Facility under the call number JX1977 A2. Many masthead documents are reprinted in a variety of other sources such as the Official Records, Yearbook of the United Nations (item 13), and the Annual Review of United Nations Affairs (item 6). If you have a document number published during this time period, ask for assistance at the Doe Reference Desk before requesting the stored document.

After 1984, masthead documents are available in the United Nations Documents & Publications microfiche collection. (Microfiche 10982 GREF item 48.) Current sessional documents in paper are also available in Government Reference Collection, (Heyns Reading Room) call number JX1877.A31.


As part of its status as a United Nations Depository, UC Berkeley has received print volumes of the United Nations Treaty Series (JX170.U35 Main Stacks; Cumulative paper indexes in GREF). This comprehensive treaty series began in 1946 and contains the text of all treaties registered or filed with the UN Secretariat by member states or international organizations and some filed by nonmember states. Texts are given in their official languages and in English and French. There is a significant delay in publication of treaties in UNTS, but access to the most recently published treaties has been greatly enhance by the following resources:

27. United Nations Treaty Collection. (UCB Only). Searchable version of the entire United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS), with the full-text of over 40,000 bilateral and multilateral treaties and actions in their authentic language(s), and the online version of the important reference volume "Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General," which includes information on the status and signatories of over five hundred major multilateral instruments.

28. United Nations Treaty Body Database. Contains all documents issued since 1992 by the six UN Treaty Monitoring Committees: the Human Rights Committee; the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the Committee against Torture; the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women; and the Committee on the Rights of the Child. T Includes full-text documents in English, French and Spanish.

Special Bodies

There are nearly twenty special bodies of the United Nations. These bodies are semi-autonomous organizations within the United Nations; they were established by resolutions of the General Assembly to carry out specific functions. Sales publications and key masthead documents of these bodies are indexed and listed in the major UN indexes. Often these bodies issue their own indexes and publications catalogs as well, including all of their masthead publications and non-sales publications.

The Economic and Social Commission oversees five regional commissions headquartered throughout the world. These commissions include:

ECA - Economic Commission for Africa. Addis Ababa.
ECE - Economic Commission for Europe. Geneva. (Europe, North America)
ECLAC - Economic Commission for Latin America & the Caribbean. Santiago.
ESCAP - Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Bangkok
ESCWA - Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. Baghdad-Amman.

Each of the commissions maintains separate publishing operations out of their headquarters. Regional commissions provide selected sales and masthead documents to all depositories, however full documentation is provided only to depositories located within the area covered by the appropriate commission. UC Berkeley therefore receives all ECE publications. Regional commission documents are selectively indexed in the major UN indexes (see sections of this guide: "Official Indexes" and "Additional Indexes").

Special Microfiche Collections

29. AccessUNDP Newsbank/Readex. 1972-1998. Index to the United Nations Development Programme Project Reports issued and held by UN headquarters between the years 1972-1998. The index provides access to evaluative, technical and terminal reports submitted to the UN by numerous participating and executing agencies. Most of the publications described are in the companion Readex microfiche collection United Nations Development Programme Project Reports, 1981-1993 . (GREF Microfiche 24773)

30. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Documents. 1965-1977. Microfiche 1474 GREF Includes all documents and publications filed by symbol number.

31. United Nations Development Programme Project Reports. Newsbank/Readex. 1981-1993. Full-text UNDP project reports issued 1981-1993. Microfiche 24773 GREF Indexed by AccessUNDP (item 41)

32. United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. Documents. 1948-1979. Microfiche 1474 GREF Includes all documents and publications filed by symbol number.

United Nations Research Guides

Although the following research guides were created for users outside UC Berkeley, many of the sources named have been previously referred to in this guide or can be found by searching the online catalog. For assistance, please visit the Doe/Moffit Reference Desk.

33. United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library Reference Guides This page includes links to bibliographies on UN reform, the Security Council, the UN Charter, peace-keeping operations, major UN conferences, and the UN Secretary- General.

34. United Nations Documentation: Research Guide. Also produced by the United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library, this guide is designed for researchers and information professionals new to United Nations documentation. It provides an overview of the various types of documents and publications issued by the Organization (e.g, reports, resolutions, meeting records, sales publications, press releases) and gives guidance on how to work with them. A detailed description of the structure of UN document symbols is included.

35. United Nations Pathfinder (Dag Hammarskj÷ld Library). Subject guide to key United Nations publications covering a wide range of topics, including international law, human rights, economic development, peacekeeping, and more.

36. United Nations Scholars' Workstation at Yale University. This guide is an excellent collection of texts, finding aids, data sets, maps, and pointers to print and electronic information. Web links are organized by UN organizational structure, research topic, geographic area, biographical information and current U.S. legislation.