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United Nations

Guide to finding United Nations information online and in the Government Documents Center

Documents vs. Publications

Before you begin your research, it is important to understand the distinction between documents and publications. Documents are created for internal use, although they may be made public. Documents tend to look different from materials that are formally publiched. They are often softbound, stapled tpgether or a single sheet of paper. They usually have the IGO masthead and a document classficiation number at the top of the page. Documents are expecially useful to scholars who are studying the organization. 

Publications are created specifically for external consumption: to inform policy-makers, scholars, and the general public abou the overall goals of the organization. Publication can take the form of yearbooks, reports, statistics, conference porceedings and periodicals. 

Document Symbols

UN documents have unique identifiers called document symbols which serves as a unique identifier for a United Nationa document. Each symbol is composed of numbers and letters which do not give any significant indication of the subject of a document. In some cases document symbol may help you find a document that you are looking for.  

Research and Subject Guides

UN Yearbook of the United Nations