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Government Documents - United Nations Collection: Home

The Government Documents Collection is an official depository library for United Nations documents and publications.  The Collection provides access to the Official Records of the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, and the Security Council, as well as yearbooks, statistical series, monographs and periodicals distributed by UN offices in New York, Geneva and Vienna.

The Collection also has selected English-language publications from UN regional commissions such as the Economic and Social Commision for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) as well commissions covering Africa, Western Asia, and Latin America.

The Collection acquires additional documents and publications from U.N.-affiliated specialized agencies. Those agencies currently collected include: Food and Agriculture Organization, International Labour Organization, International Monetary Fund, Unesco, and the World Bank. Click on the tab labeled UN Specialized Agencies to view separate guides for these organizations.

The United Nations Collection uses the UN Documents symbols and sales numbers to classify the UN documents.  Understanding how UN document numbers and UN sales numbers work will help users locate items on the shelves as well as search databases such as AccessUN, UNBISnet, and the Official Document System (ODS).

There is also a separate in-house arrangement for UN periodicals and an in-house classification system for publications issued by the UN specialized agencies.  In some cases, it is difficult to differentiate the UN symboled document numbers from the call numbers for the specialized agencies, so see a staff member for assistance in locating the item.

UN Document symbols:  the documents and publications are arranged alphabetically by the series symbol, then numerically by the individual document number. (To understand the structure of UN Document symbols read the section below: Detailed Explanations and Tutorials on UN Document Numbers).

Examples:

A/CONF.184/6

Report of the Third United Nations Conference for the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

ST/ESA/STAT/SER.F/103

Handbook on geospatial infrastructure in support of census activities

UN Sales numbers:  using the broad subject codes (roman numerals), these publications are arranged by the subject category number first, then the year, followed by the publication number.

Examples:

I.2011.1

The global partnership for development: time to deliver.

V.2008.2

International instruments related to the prevention and suppression of international terrorism.

UN Periodical:  UN periodical issues are arranged by title, using an in-house system. Each periodical title is assigned a letter-number combination, followed by the year or volume/issue number.

Examples:

U.N. Per. As 41/3 v.17, no.2 December 2010

Asia-Pacific development journal

U.N. Per.  R 32 2000

Review of maritime transport.

UN specialized agencies:  Publications are coded and shelved by their respective organizations (FAO, IBRD, IMF, etc.)  Each publication is given a cutter (letter-number combination) and shelved accordingly.

Examples:

FAO F 526/11 no.563

Aquaculture farmer organizations and cluster management: concepts and experiences.

ILO Sa 17/2

Safety and health in construction

Detailed Explanations and Tutorials on UN Document Numbers

"...contains virtually every document, including “Limited” and “Restricted” documents, from the main UN bodies: the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, Secretariat, Trusteeship Council and International Court of Justice." Use the AccessUN database to identify documents on this set (UHM login required for remote access). Fiche are arranged by year and document symbol. Refer to this guide for more information about content and arrangement.

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Subject Guide

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Gwen Sinclair
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