Beyond the Archives
Archives serve as institutional memory. They provide evidence of the past and promote accountability and transparency of past actions. Archival record can be in any format including paper documents, photographs, maps, films, sound recordings, electronic records, documentary art, or architectural drawings. The mandate of the United Nations Archives is to collect and preserve the records of the United Nations Secretariat and its field operations. Beyond this scope, there are many archives around the world with archives that are complimentary to the ones at the United Nations.
Many offices, associated with the United Nations Secretariat publish reports, statistics, photos and other documentation on their own websites.
The Yearbook of the United Nations —published by the Department of Public Information—stands as the authoritative reference work on the activities and concerns of the Organization. Based on official UN documents, the Yearbook provides comprehensive coverage of political and security matters, human rights issues, economic and social questions, legal issues, and institutional, administrative and budgetary matters. There are many other yearbooks produced by various UN organizations and related agencies.
The Dag Hammarskjöld Library provides research and information to support the work of United Nations Member States. As an integral part of the UN Organization, the Library also aids in the dissemination of UN information to a wider public audience through online services, and a global depository library network. The Library collects print and digital copies of UN documents, publications and a variety of other material produced by the Organization, such as maps and press releases. Their Guide to Official Documents explains how to search records of the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, and Trusteeship Council.
UN Multimedia provides access to official Video and Photo collections. These materials illustrate the work of the United Nations to maintain international peace and security, protect human rights, deliver humanitarian aid, promote sustainable development, and uphold international law.
The historic archive of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law aims to preserve, in a vivid and informative manner, the audiovisual heritage of the United Nations in the progressive development and codification of international law and thereby promote a better understanding of the essential role of the United Nations in the advancement of the rule of law.
"Every treaty and every international agreement entered into by any Member of the United Nations ... shall as soon as possible be registered with the Secretariat and published by it." (Article 102 of the Charter of the United Nations). The United Nations Treaty Collection (UNTC) is a global portal providing on-line access to comprehensive information relating to the work of the Treaty Section.
Most of the art works displayed in the United Nations Headquarters in New York have been presented as gifts or donations to the organization. General Assembly resolution 63/270 of 7 April 2009 requested the Secretary-General to create a gift registry. The Dag Hammarskjöld Library has a gifts reference guide for more information, and you can search some of the gifts in the UN Archives Historic Items and Gifts Collection.
UN Member States on the Record provides links to selected UN databases, websites, and other information resources, in order to make the record of Member States' activities at the UN more accessible. Information available for each Member State includes: the key documents related to its membership in the UN; statements made before the principal organs; draft resolutions sponsored; periodic reports submitted on Human Rights conventions, and more.
Meeting Coverage and Press Releases for the Secretary-General, General Assembly, Security Council and Economic and Social Council.
The Journal of the United Nations lists daily official, informal and forthcoming meetings, as well as lists of documents, signatures and ratifications, press conference and general information.
The UN Archives collects original unpublished material created by the United Nations Secretariat (as well as some organizations that existed and closed before the founding of the UN). There are other agencies within the UN system and in the international community that have public archival and/or library collections:
- ADB – Asian Development Bank (Manilla, Philippines)
- CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research (Geneva, Switzerland)
- EC – European Commission (Brussels, Belgium)
- ESA – European Space Agency (Firenze, Italy)
- ESCAP - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok, Thailand)
- ESCWA - United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (Beirut, Lebanon)
- EUI – Historic Archives of the European Union (Firenze, Italy)
- FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (Rome, Italy)
- IAEA - International Atomic Energy Agency (Vienna, Austria)
- IBE - International Bureau of Education (Geneva, Switzerland)
- ICCROM – International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (Rome, Italy)
- ICJ - International Court of Justice (The Hague, Netherlands)
- ICRC – International Committee of the Red Cross (Geneva, Switzerland)
- IFRC – International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (Geneva, Switzerland)
- ILO - International Labour Organization (Geneva, Switzerland)
- IMF – International Monetary Fund (Washington, DC, United States)
- ITU - International Telecommunication Union (Geneva, Switzerland)
- MICT - United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (The Hague, Denmark, and Arusha, Tanzania)
- NATO – North Atlantic Treaty Organization (Brussels, Belgium)
- OECD – Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (Paris, France)
- UN – United Nations Archives (New York, United States)
- UNESCO - United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Paris, France)
- UNHCR - United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Geneva, Switzerland)
- UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund (New York, United States) [closed for research]
- UNOG - United Nations Office at Geneva (Geneva, Switzerland)
- UNRWA - United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (online)
- UPU – Universal Postal Union (Berne, Switzerland)
- WB – World Bank Group (Washington, DC, United States)
- WHO - World Health Organization (Geneva, Switzerland)
- WIPO - World Intellectual Property Organization (Geneva, Switzerland)
- WTO –World Trade Organization (Geneva, Switzerland)
General Archive Resources
- Access to Archives of Intergovernmental Organizations
- Code of Ethics for Archivists
- Global Resources Human Rights Archives and Documentation Project
- Guide to Archives of Intergovernmental Organizations
- Human Rights Working Group
- International Council on Archives
- International Records Management Trust