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United Nations Documents


This guide will help you find information about United Nations.  Click the tabs above to find online and print resources.

If you need additional help with your research, I'm available for consultations. Just email or call me.

Hong Wang

Library Room 2002
Phone: 916-278-6373

Document Types

Official Records include proceedings/meeting records/supplement/annexes, resolutions, annual reports and Annexes.

Masthead Documents
include human rights reports, resolutions, NGO reports, meeting records of subordinate bodies, statistics and correspondence.

Sales publications are offered for sale outside the UN system.

Serials: many are issued as masthead documents and many are included in Official Records. The most heavily used UN serials are sales publications.

Databases/Electronic Indexes

Library database AccessUN (NewsBank) (1998-2009) is the premier index to United Nations documents including the above mentioned document types. Only resolutions are full text.  For full text of the other documents, use the citation and try  the following Official Document System of the United Nations (ODS) .

Official Document System of the United Nations (ODS)
(1993--, Resolutions 1946-)

ODS covers all types of official United Nations documentation, beginning in 1993. Older UN documents are, however, added to the system on a daily basis. ODS also provides access to the resolutions of the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council and the Trusteeship Council from 1946 onwards. 

United Nations Dag Hammarskjöld Library
The Library is the main depository for United Nations documents and publications and maintains a selected collection of materials of the specialized agencies and United Nations affiliated bodies. The Library collect books, periodicals and other materials related to the Organization's programs and  activities. UNBISnet, the Library's catalogue, links from the record for a document to its full text in all official languages of issuance.

Journal of the United Nations (2003--)
It is issued daily in English and French, the working languages of the Secretariat. During the main part of the sessions of the General Assembly (September-December), it appears in all six official languages of the United Nations.

 Press Releases (1995--)

 UN Sales Publications

Voting Records

To look for documents that contain voting records, type in one subject field voting records, in another field the subject. In a third field type the name of the country whose voting record you are interested in and change the field to author. Then click on the Search button.


AccessUN (NewsBank(1998-2009)
To look for resolutions, type in a subject field the word resolution and in another subject field your subject. Click on Yes to the question, Limit Search to Full-Text Documents? Then click on the Search button.


World treaty index  JX 171 .R63 (Library 2nd floor reference section)
Treaty series / United Nations  (V. 1--V. 948)    JX 170 .U35 (Library lower level)

United Nations Treaty Collection
This is the official online collection of United Nations treaties and League of Nations treaties.
Major databases are MTDSG (Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General), UNTS (United Nations Treaty Series, Cumulative IndexLNTS(League of Nations Treaty Series), and MS database (1998--) (Monthly Statement of Treaties and International Agreements

United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS) (1948--2006)
        The Collection includes the texts of treaties in their authentic language(s), along with translations into English and French, as appropriate. The collection currently contains over 158,000 treaties and related subsequent actions which have been published in hard copy in over 2,200 volumes (the Library has the first 948 volumes).

League of Nations Treaty Series (5 July 1920 - 3 October 1944)
It contains the texts of treaties and records of subsequent treaty actions published in 205 volumes of the League of Nations Treaty Series. 

United Nations Treaty Series Cumulative Index (Issue No. 26-43 / v. 1455--v. 2350)
A volume of the United Nations Treaty Series Cumulative Index is issued for every fifty volumes of the United Nations Treaty Series (UNTS).


Microform Collections

Our Library has a collection of UN documents in microform filed in 2 North. They are filed by document symbols. There is a reading machine next to the file cabinet. If  you need to print out, please go to the Library Media Center.   

Document Symbols

For more details, see United Nations Documentation: Research Guide

Basics of Symbols
A symbol serves as a unique identifier for a United Nations document. Each symbol is composed of numbers and letters which do not give any significant indication of the subject of a document. All language versions of a document carry the same symbol.

Structure of Symbols

First component
Usually, the first component indicates the organ to which the document is being submitted or the organ that is issuing the document:

A/-   General Assembly     
S/-  Security Council 
E/- Economic and Social Council
ST/- Secretariat

Some bodies have a special series symbol that does not reflect the parent organ. For example:

CRC/C/- Committee on the Rights of the Child
DP/- United Nations Development Programme
TD/- United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
UNEP/- United Nations Environment Programme

Second component
Secondary and tertiary components indicate subsidiary bodies:

-/AC. .../- Ad hoc committee
-/C. .../- Standing, permanent, or main committee
-/CN. .../- Commission
-/CONF. .../- Conference
-/GC. .../- Governing council
-/PC/. .../- Preparatory committee
-/SC. .../- Subcommittee
-/Sub. .../- Subcommission
-/WG. .../- Working group

Special components

Special components reflect the nature of the document:

-/CRP. ... Conference room paper
-/INF/- Information series (e.g., lists of participants)
-/L. ... Limited distribution (i.e., generally draft documents)
-/NGO/- Statements by non-governmental organizations
-/PET/- Petitions
-/PRST/- Statements by the President of the Security Council
-/PV. ... Verbatim records of meetings (i.e., proces-verbaux)
-/R. ... Restricted distribution; restricted access (unless subsequently derestricted)
-/RES/- Resolutions
-/SR. ... Summary records of meetings
-/WP. ... Working papers

  Final component

The final component, appearing as a suffix to a symbol, reflects modifications to the original text:

-/Add. ... Addendum
-/Amend. Alteration, by decision of a competent authority, of a portion of an adopted formal text
-/Corr. ... Corrigendum (which may not apply to all language versions)
-/Rev. ... Revision (replacing texts previously issued)
/Summary Summarized version
-/-* Reissuance of a document for technical reasons

Session or year component

Many document symbols now include sessional or year elements, usually following the components that indicate the body. This was not the case prior to 1976 when the General Assembly began this practice. Other organs adopted similar practices. Subsidiary bodies generally follow the practice of the parent organ.

The General Assembly began to incorporate the session number into the symbols of its documents in 1976, at its 31st session (e.g., A/31/99).

In 1978, the Economic and Social Council began incorporating the year into the symbols of its documents (e.g., E/1978/99).

The Security Council began doing the same in 1994 (e.g., S/1994/99), with the exception of resolutions and meeting records.


A/64/1  General Assembly, 64th session, document no. 1 
A/CONF.157/PC/63/Add.4 General Assembly, World Conference on Human Rights, Preparatory Committee, document no. 63, addendum no. 4

Economic and Social Council, Commission on Human Rights, Subcommission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, year: 2003, document no. 38, revision no. 2



Annual review of United Nations affairs  ref. JX 1977 .A1 A5 (1949-2008)

Help for Searching Library Database ACCESSUN

United Nations Documentation: Research Guide