As the UN celebrates its 75th anniversary, a team of archivists in the Department of Global Communications races to preserve its audiovisual heritage. For years, the UN’s historic film, video and audio recordings have been at risk due to natural decay, technological obsolescence and challenging environmental storage conditions. In 2016, seeing the importance of preserving this rich collection, the Government of the Sultanate of Oman stepped in with a generous contribution which enabled a 5-year effort to digitize approximately 70 per cent of the archives and make them available through the AV Library website. To maximize discovery and publicize these treasures, the AV Library, with the support of the Video Section and Social Media team, is launching a quarterly video series called “Into the Vault: 75 Years of UN Audiovisual Heritage”. The series explores important aspects of the Organization’s history through its use of selected footage, audio and photographs from the audiovisual archive. Episode One will showcase the General Assembly’s picturesque moments, questioning myths and highlighting important resolutions of the Organization’s most representative body.
Did you know that the UN Dag Hammarskjold Library offers a digital collection of oral history interviews and transcripts with senior UN officials and diplomats that offer insider views and personal perspectives on the Organization’s work to maintain world peace?
We invite you to explore this collection in the UN Digital Library. You can also access this content by selecting the “Images and Sounds” collection from the UN Digital Library home page:
Most likely you are aware that the UN system, in particular the World Health Organization, has been at the forefront of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an abundance of information being released everywhere and it can be confusing, misleading or completely erroneous at times. Please take a look at the following resources that may help you navigate this information and also lead you to more substantive materials that your library users/clients may be asking for. Main COVID-19 UN web portalhttps://www.un.org/en/coronavirus
You are welcome to any resources found on these websites and in the research guides listed above. All UN documents are in the public domain and can be freely disseminated. When re-using these resources, kindly give appropriate credit.
The archives of former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have been made available online for public consultation via the website of the United Nations Archives and Records Management Section. Unlike the official documents of the United Nations, which are available through the Dag Hammarskjöld Library, the Organization’s archives are comprised of its internal working papers. Typically, United Nations archives are only released after 20 years, but in this case, former Secretary-General Ban’s office worked with the Archives and Records Management Section to ensure that his archives were released as soon, and as widely, as possible. By making the former Secretary-General’s archives available for public consultation, the United Nations is effecting its commitment to transparency and accountability. Many of the Secretary-General’s records, even those which were marked Confidential or Strictly Confidential, are now open for review.
In 2017, the Institutional Memory Section of the UN Library Geneva launched a major five-year project (2017-2022) to digitize the entire League of Nations archives, with the aim of modernising access to institutional memory for researchers, education institutions, and the general public.
This project, called Total Digital Access, will ensure digital and physical preservation and state-of-the-art free online access to around 15 million pages, or almost three linear kilometres of archival documents of the League of Nations (1920-1946), the first global international organisation aiming at the establishment of peace and cooperation and the precursor of the United Nations.
The project will result in 160TB of data, over 500.000 units of descriptive metadata, rehousing and conservation of all physical originals according to current standards, and modernised climate control and fire prevention.
These sites are free to use, but you’ll need a subscription if you wish to download, save or copy any information – or if you want to take advantage of the time saving features. You can find a list of sales partners here for further information on costs etc.
The United Nations Digital Library (UNDL) is now available and can be accessed globally free of charge. A result of the successful collaboration between the Dag Hammarskjöld Library (DHL) at UN Headquarters and the United Nations Office at Geneva Library, the platform uses innovative open source technology to provide access to UN-produced materials in digital format. Content will be added continuously and enhancements to the system will be rolled out on a regular basis.
The new system, which offers easy access to UN documents, maps, speeches, voting data, as well as non-sales publications, will help global researchers find the UN information they need, quickly and accurately. It provides one point of access to UN information – current and historical.
Phase 1 of the UNDL incorporates digital content from the databases in UNBISnet and the Official Document System (ODS) – mainly official UN documents, speech and voting records, as well as some maps. The UNDL will also link to open access UN content.
What can I find in the United Nations Digital Library?
– UN documents and open access publications
– UN voting data, maps and speeches
– Content in 6+ languages
Which system features are there?
– Linked data between related documents such as resolutions, meeting records and voting
– Refine searches by UN body, agency or type of document
UN Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter. With the ratification of this founding document by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being.
The United Nations iLibrary is the first comprehensive global search, discovery, and viewing source for digital content created by the United Nations.
Publications are now available online in the single research repository. Content is organised by series title, publication year and alphabetically; and search and discovery of complete publications or even their components – chapters and articles – is a click away. The content is accessible in different formats – PDF and READ – to meet users’ needs, whether for reading on a mobile device, sharing with peers via social networks or integrating content in a report.
More Information about United Nations iLibrary
Download a brochure (PDF) detailing the United Nations iLibrary service.
United Nations iLibrary has been developed in partnership with OECD Publishing and the OECD iLibrary. The OECD iLibrary is also available via the National Library of Scotland with the same arrangements for access.
The UN Libraries in New York, Geneva and Vienna have an impressive selection of research guides on a variety of topics available.
I would like to highlight from the extensive list of guides a couple of useful starting places if you wish to find out more about the UN and their publications.
The United Nations Library to commemorate the 70th anniversary has produced a website 70 years, 70 documents presenting an exploration of the seventy key documents that have shaped the United Nations and our world. I recently put together a display in the National Library of Scotland demonstrating the range and depth of the library’s Official Publications collection. I choice to do this by selecting one year, in this case 1948. UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on 10 December 1948 in Paris and I chose to included in the display. It also appears in the UN’s 70 years, 70 documents as the key document for that year.