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United Nations

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Finding documents --Indexes and database searching

Databases of UN documents and Indexes

If you have a UN document symbol (e.g., E/CN.15/2010/L.16), you can often find the document by searching the web using that document symbol.  Finding older and more obscure documents, however, may require more work.  To search UN documents by keywords, there are three main options:  the full-text database ODS; the UN documents index UNBISnet, and the commercial UN documents index AccessUN.  

ODS has full-text documents, but only from about 1993-present.  Older documents are being added.  Unfortunately, ODS doesn't always capture documents produced by UN organs.  (Other indexes and databases of UN documents have the same problem.)  ODS allows keyword searching and other search options.

UNBISnet has coverage of older documents than ODS does; coverage begins in about 1979.  Links to full-text documents are often provided, but if they are not, try searching for the document on the web or in ODS.

AccessUN covers UN documents back to 1946, but only the documents of the six principal UN organs.

All three of these sources have UN resolutions back to 1946.

Paper Document Indexes

For historical UN research, you may need to look at paper indexes to UN documents.

In order to locate a relevant UN document, you need the document symbol. Use indexes to locate the symbol.

    • United Nations Documents Index (UNDI) (1950-62). Indexed documents of specialized agencies; subject index leads to entry number; entry number in documents list gives document symbol and bibliographic information. (v.1-13) (Wilson Gov. Pub. (Ref) Quarto ST/LIB/SER.6; UN-DOCS ST/LIB/SER.E). Commercial publication is Cumulative Index to Volumes 1-13 of the United Nations Documents Index (1974) (4 volumes).
    • United Nations Documents Index (UNDI) (1963-1973). Omits coverage of specialized agency documents; subject index provides the document symbol and document symbol in documents list gives bibliographic information. (UN-DOCS ST/LIB/SER.E).
    • UNDEX (1973-1978). Issued in three series: A = subject index, B = country index, C = list of documents issued. Series C was commercially published: UNDEX Series "C" Cumulative Edition 1974-77 and supplement 1978. (UN-DOCS ST/LIB/SER.IX)
    • UNDOC: Current Index (1979-1997). Provides access by subject, author, and title. Provides comprehensive bibliographic information for documents; a list of Official Records and sales publications; a list of documents republished in the Official Records; and a list of new document series symbols. (Issued quarterly in paper format and cumulated annually on fiche starting with 1984). (Law Storage/Basement MFiche UN-DOC ST/LIB/SER.M/HDCP Index).


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