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United Nations Research

A guide to key resources on the work of the United Nations

The Collections

The Libraries has a comprehensive collection of United Nations documents and publications, which is located on the 2nd Floor of Paterno Library.  Resources include a complete collection of Official Records, a comprehensive collection of the working documents of the General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, Trusteeship Council, United Nations conferences, subsidiary agencies, and sales publications.  Materials are available in paper, microfiche, and online collections.  Locating  the documents often requires using a number of online databases and print indexes.

UN Call Numbers

The working documents and many sales publications are filed by United Nations Series Symbol, an agency-based classification system. The United Nations series symbols reflect both the body which produces the document as well as the type of publication it is. The symbols are composed of uppercase letters, combined with Arabic numerals. Roman numerals, when used, designate the number of the session. A slash (/) separates the components of the symbol.

  • The first letter(s) indicates the main organ of the United Nations to which the document was submitted:

    • A/ - General Assembly
    • E/ - Economic and Social Council
    • S/ - Security Council
    • T/ - Trusteeship Council
    • ST/ - Secretariat
  • Special symbols have also been designed for certain subsidiary organs of the United Nations, for instance:

    • CCPR/ - Human Rights Committee
    • TD/ - United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
    • UNEP/ - United Nations Environment Programme
  • After the first slash, the second series of symbols indicates the sub-body within the main organ which produced the document:

    • ...AC./ - Ad Hoc Committee or similar body
    • .../C./ - Standing, permanent, main committee
    • .../CN./ - Commission
    • .../CONF./ - Conference
    • .../GC./ - Governing Council
    • .../PC./ - Preparatory Committee
    • .../SC./ - Subcommittee
    • .../Sub./ - Subcommission
    • .../WG./ - Working Group
    • .../WP./ - Working Party
  • Subsidiary bodies are given an Arabic numeral which usually is assigned in order of their establishment. The General Assembly main committees, for example, may be identified by the following symbols:

    • A/C.1/ - First Committee (political and security)
    • A/C.2/ - Second Committee (economic and financial)
    • A/C.3/ - Third Committee (social, humanitarian and cultural)
    • A/C.4/ - Fourth Committee (trusteeship)
    • A/C.5/ - Fifth Committee (administrative and budgetary)
    • A/C.6/ - Sixth Committee (legal)
    • A/SPC/ - Special Political Committee
  • The following letters are added to the basic series symbols to denote the nature of the document. Examples:

    • .../INF/ - information series
    • .../L. - limited distribution documents
    • .../MIN. - minutes
    • ./NGO/ - statements by nongovernmental organizations
    • .../PC/ - preparatory committee
    • .../PET/ - petitions
    • .../PV./ - verbatim records
    • .../RES./ - mimeographed texts of adopted resolutions
    • .../SR./ - summary records of meetings
    • .../WG./ - working group
    • .../WP./ - working paper