What resources are available to research UN documents and publications?
Last Updated: Oct 28, 2022
The right database can make research on UN topics quicker and more rewarding.
If you are just starting research, check out the FAQ How do I start research on UN documentation? (linked below).
If you have some experience and want to optimize your search by choosing the best search option, here are some hints.
Choose the United Nations Digital Library to:
- search by topic
- search on metadata (information about the document)
- document symbol
- agenda item
- UN body name
- search in fulltext of records with digital files
- search for quotes
- search fulltext in any official language
- search document symbols or resolution numbers in fulltext to find citation in later documents
- search for a certain type of UN document, even if there is no distinctive symbol pattern
- meeting records
- annual/sessional reports
- reports of the Secretary-General
- publications and UN series
Choose the Official Document System (ODS) to:
- search by symbol
- search on the full-text of documents
- search for documents that cite previous documents
Choose the UN Yearbook to:
- start historic research
- find document symbols
- find additional information about a document and the context in which it was considered
Choose the Index to Proceedings to:
- find all documents related to an agenda item in a given year or session
- find the meeting number and symbol for a meeting held on a certain date
- find statements prior to 1983
Choose the UN iLibrary to:
- find recent UN publications including books, working papers, journals, and datasets
- approx. 9000 titles accessible in PDF, ePub, accessible ePub and READER
- Anyone anywhere in the world with an internet connection can search, read, share and embed all United Nations books and journals via the READ Online feature. Content can be downloaded if your institution has a subscription.
Each researcher develops personal strategies for working with UN documents: there are many approaches that get results. All the tools listed can be used in many additional ways-- this list highlights some of the key ways to use the various resources.
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.