How is metadata about UN documents created?
Last Updated: Jul 22, 2016
Born digital United Nations documents go through a complex process of preparation, editing, translation, and publication on the Official Document System (ODS). Certain metadata is created during the document creation process.
Once the document is published and received by the UN libraries in New York and Geneva, indexers get to work creating enhanced metadata in our catalogue, UNBISnet.
Titles, dates, authors, and subjects are assigned to each UN document. In addition, specialized fields related to UN documents may also be assigned, such as type of material, UN document symbol, and the UN body, session and agenda information.
Once the indexing has been completed, metadata from the library's catalogue is transferred to the ODS. At the same time, the catalogue picks up the links to the full text documents from the ODS.
The UNBIS reference manuals provide details on the exact fields used in our catalogue, UNBISnet.
Note on historic documents: Prior to 1993, documents were issued in hard-copy only. From 1979-1993, the libraries created descriptive metadata in the catalogue. If a document from 1979-1993 is scanned, the existing metadata is used. For documents 1946-1979 that do not have existing metadata, only limited fields are created. A note in the record will indicate "retrospective indexing".
Disclaimer: answers are prepared by library staff using resources available at the time of writing. This site may include links and references to third-party databases, websites, books and articles, this does not imply endorsement by the United Nations.