What is the Official Document System (ODS)? How can I search the ODS?
Last Updated: May 18, 2021     Views: 7378

Screenshot of ODS website banner

The Official Document System (ODS) is an online database of UN documents. 

  • First launched in 1993, updated in 2016
  • Includes full-text, born-digital, UN documents from 1993-present
  • Includes scanned documents from 1946-1993
    • All resolutions of the principal organs
    • All Security Council documents
    • General Assembly Official Records
      • All plenary meeting records, supplements and annexes
      • Scanning of main committees' meeting records is in progress
  • Additional documents scanned on an ad hoc basis
  • New documents added daily
  • ODS excludes:
    • Documents issued before 1993 that have not yet been digitized
    • Press releases
    • Sales publications, such as Yearbooks, Treaty Series and others
    • Documents issued without a symbol

Search ODS

Search ODS by entering search terms to the appropriate box.

Access documents

  • Click on the document symbol to open a pdf version of the document.
  • Click on Details to access other versions of the document.

Screenshot of search result displaying S/RES/2225 (2015) with options to access documents


Screenshot of ODS search fields

Search options include:

  • Symbol
    • symbol truncation options
  • Full-text
    • Find this phrase
    • Find all the words
    • Find any of the words
    • Use Boolean operators
  • Date of publication or Date of release
  • Words in the title
  • Subjects
  • Session and agenda item number
  • Job Number

Search options may be combined to refine a search.

For example, combine a partial symbol and full-text to find documents that contain a certain phrase.

  • e.g. A/RES and "human rights" will return resolutions of the General Assembly with that phrase.

Use Boolean operators in the full-text field to create complex searches. The following operators work:

  • AND (narrows search)
  • OR (expands search)
  • AND NOT (excludes terms following)
  • SENTENCE (proximity)
  • Truncate terms with *

These may be combined logically to refine searches, for example:

  • ("human rights" OR (freedom SENTENCE expression)) AND (Uzbekistan OR Kazakhstan)

Resolutions 1946-1993

Resolutions 1946-1993 are accessible through the search options, there is no longer a separate database of these resolutions.

​Note: older resolutions are in pdf format and are not full-text searchable on ODS.

Unite Search

Unite Search is the enterprise search for the UN websites as well as specialized data sets, including ODS. Unite Search is different from the search described above and will return different results.

Unite Search:

  • Uses SOLR technology // ODS uses LotusNotes
  • Searches the full-text of websites and documents // ODS searches full-text and metadata of documents
  • Default search is "OR" // ODS default is "phrase"
  • Has Advanced Search options // ODS Advanced search options are different

About ODS

ODS is maintained by the Office of Information and Communications Technology (OICT). New documents are added by the Department for General Assembly and Conference Management (DGACM). Scanned documents and metadata are contributed by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library and the UN Office at Geneva Library.

May 18, 2021     7378


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.


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