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Finding United Nations Documents

The University of Virginia Library is one of some 365 United Nations depository libraries around the world. Depository libraries receive documentation and publications from the UN for use by the general public.  Try VIRGO and these general websites to start your search.  Then take a look at UN Databases, listed below.

  • Virgo - UVa Libraries Catalog
    United Nations publications issued since 1989 are listed in VIRGO, the library's online catalog. For these documents there are no subject headings included, so that a words or phrase search is the best way to find these. Note: "Mast Head" documents (i.e., the working papers of the UN) are not listed individually in Virgo. "Mast head" documents include papers, letters, draft documents, and other supporting documentation used by Delegations during sessions. To locate these working papers use AccessUN, described below.
  • UN iLibrary
    Beginning in 2016 UN sales publications - journals, books, annuals - are available on this digital platform.
    The United Nations website.
  • Dag Hammarskjöld Library Research Guides
    The main UN library offers many excellent research guides that will help you find UN documents on your topic.
  • Print Index and Other Indexes to Older UN Publications
    (3rd floor, Ready Ref - Back wall of 3rd Floor Center Reading Room)
    Many United Nations publications and periodicals published prior to 1989 are not listed in VIRGO. The best way to find these older UN materials owned by the Library but not listed in VIRGO is through a computer generated keyword-in-title index (KWIC) and other such indexes located in the Government Information Resources Reading Room. If your research involves extensive use of older UN documents you may want to Contact Us for an appointment for personalized instruction in locating these materials.

UN Databases

  • United Nations Official Documents System (ODS)
    Full text of UN documents since 1992
  • AccessUN
    Search for UN documents (draft resolutions, meeting records, Sales Publications, Treaty Series, etc.) with links to select full text online. Generally used to discover document numbers to retrieve the microfiche in Alderman's Government Information Resources 3rd Floor East Reading Room.
  • UNBISnet - UN Bibligraphic Information System
    Voting Records and Index to Speeches in the United Nations.
  • United Nations Info Quest (UN-I-QUE)
    UN-I-QUE (UN Info Quest), a ready-reference file created by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library to respond to frequently asked questions, is designed to provide quick access to document symbols/sales numbers for UN materials (1946 onwards). It does not give full bibliographic details nor does it replace existing bibliographic databases (UNBISnet) produced by the Library. UN-I-QUE focuses upon documents and publications of a recurrent nature: annual/sessional reports of committees/commissions; annual publications; reports periodically/irregularly issued; reports of major conferences; statements in the General Debate; etc. Information within each record is presented in reverse chronological order to facilitate identification of the most recent data.
  • United Nations Treaty Database
    "This database provides information on the status of over 500 major multilateral instruments deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations (including the texts of reservations, declarations and objections) and covers a range of subject matter such as Human Rights, Disarmament, Commodities, Refugees, the Environment and the Law of the Sea."
  • UNdata
    Search UN statistical databases through a single entry point. Includes, but not limited to:

    • CountryData National Development Indicators

    • Monthly Bulletin of Statistics

    • Comtrade

    • Demographic Yearbook System

    • Millennium Indicators Database

    • MDG Labs

    • UNGEGN World Geographical Names

Select UN Reference Material

  • Yearbook of the United Nations
    The UN Yearbook gives extensive background on what the UN did in a particular year. It gives documentary citations to other UN documents for further reading. It includes background material and the actions of the specialized agencies, such as the International Labour Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and UNESCO. Also in print.
  • UN Chronicle
    The UN's quarterly periodical which reports on activities of the body. Think of it as the Time or Newsweek of the UN. Also in print.
  • Everyone's United Nations
    This title covers the events involving the UN for a five to ten year period. It is a good source for an overview of the actions of the UN during a given period of time. Published from 1948-1995. Print only.

Contact Information

Barbie Selby
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Alderman Library
Reference Room, 4th floor
University of Virginia
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Jennifer Huck
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Data Librarian
Library Data Commons @ Curry, Rm 304
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