Please also refer to here for basic documents about the UN.

Types of Documents

The UN has published very various and numerous documents.

  • Press Release
    A press release is an important information before publication of the official documents.
    The press releases published from 1995 to current are available on “Meetings Coverage and Press Releases“.
  • Document
    A document is minutes or references distributed to government representatives on the UN conferences / meetings.
    You can search for the documents by using the following tools / resources.

    • Official Document System(ODS)
      The ODS is a database that can search for official documents and official records and it provides their full texts.
      The UNBISnet is a catalog about materials shelved in the UN Library. You can search catalogs for official documents published from 1979, resolutions of the General Assemblies from 1946, voting records and speeches by using this tool.
    • UN-I-QUE
      The UN-I-QUE is a database that searches for document symbols by searching a title of document and keyword(s).
    • Index to microfilm of United Nations documents in English 1946-1961 [Printed material]
      United Nations documents index [Printed material]
      You can search for past documents and publications that can not be searched for by using the above databases.
  • Official Record
    Important documents of main organizations (e.g., the General Assembly, ECOSOC, Security Council) are edited and published as official records.
    Official records can also be searched by UN-I-QUE.
  • Publication
    A publication is a document for sale (e.g., research paper, statistics and leaflet). It has sales number.
    Publications can be searched by United Nations Publications.
    To search for past publications, “The complete reference guide to United Nations sales publications, 1946-1978” can also be used.
    You can search for the publications held in the library of the United Nations via UNBISNET.

Document Symbols

The UN documents except journals have their own document symbols.
When you want a document that cannot get online, you should note these symbols.

○ Structure of the Symbols
Parent Organization/Subsidiary Body/Nature of Document/Modification
1) A/55/1 = General Assembly/55th/Document no.1
2) A/AC.109/PV.1412 = General Assembly/109th ad hoc committee/Verbatim record no.1412

The detail of the document symbols can be learned via the following webpages.

Sales Number

Publications for sale have each sales number. The Kobe University United Nations Depository Library manages UN publications by using this number.
Other libraries such as the Library for Social Sciences provide books with other symbols (call no.) and manages them.

○ Structure of the Sale Number
Language. Year. Subject (or organ). Serial number
e.g.) E. 80. II.C. 1 = English. 1980. World economy. 1st publication

Annual Report

An annual report is a report submitted to the upper organization by their branches. These reports are published as the supplements of the official records.

○ Document Symbol of Annual Report
Organization/Session number/Document number
e.g.) A/55/15(SUPP) = General Assembly/55th/Document no.15 (Supplement)

The document symbols can be confirmed by using “UN-I-QUE“.

Official Record

Official Records have the following 3 kinds.

  • Minutes
    Shorthand / summary records of proceedings. Minutes are indicated by “/PV.” and “/SR.”.
    e.g.) A/56/PV.1= General Assembly/56th meeting/Shorthand record no.1
  • Annexe
    An annexe is what put together documents as references of proceedings managed by agenda. Annexes of the General Assembly (~1992) / the Economic and Social Council (~1972) / the Trusteeship Council (~1969) have ended publication.
  • Supplement
    A supplement is such as resolutions of the General Assembly, annual reports and report of the main organizations.
    「A / Session number / Number 1 to 49」 (e.g., A/52/12) means the supplements of the official records of the General Assembly.

UNBIS Thesaurus

A thesaurus is a kind of dictionary that groups synonyms and hierarchises them.
The library of the United Nations Office that creates UNBISNET gives thesaurus terms to Documents, Official Records and Publications by using UNBIS thesaurus.

UNBIS THESAURUS” provides thesaurus list by alphabetical order and by field. You can also search for thesaurus words by using this database.

Document / Official Document

Only a few libraries have these document because they are not sold to public.
Many of documents published in recent years have been exposed on the web and older documents are also being digitised.

  1. Searching Official Document System(ODS) for online editions
  2. Inquiring of the United Nations Depository Library and check its holdings
  3. Applying Photocopy Request


Some publications are digitized and exposed on the web.
When you search for UN publications held in Japan, you should search OPAC of each library or “CiNii Books“.

  1. Searching for online editions by using UNBISNET
  2. Searching for by Kobe University Library OPAC
  3. Applying InterLibrary LoanService

More Information