United Nations Research on the Web: 
A Highly Selective Guide 
prepared in the
United Nations Collection of Princeton University Library
 
A large number of useful Internet resources are available in the fall of 2003 for study of the United Nations and the programs and interests which are its special focus.  Many are provided by the United Nations itself.  Others have been prepared at reliable sites outside the United Nations.  This page contains a highly selective listing of a few that seem especially interesting. 

I.  United Nations Documentation.  Here are found indexes and for some items, the actual full text of working documents, reports, speeches, and resolutions generated and used by the General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, Security Council, and other parts of the U.N. 

1.  The HomePage of the United Nations (www.un.org/english)  This page is a portal to international information about the UN and international issues on a grand scale, with excellent functionality and great content.  It is so rich in information that some elements can seem buried, but becoming very familiar with this page is very much worth the effort. 

2. United Nations Documentation: Research Guide (www.un.org/Depts/dhl/resguide)  Excellent overall guide prepared by the staff of the Dag Hammarskjold Library at UN Headquarters in New York.

3.  Document Symbols  (www.un.org/Depts/dhl/resguide/symbol.htm )  UN Documents are identified by document symbols as shown here.  Symbols are organic, arising from the nature of the part of the UN issuing them and the function of the document.  They gather documents together in families which can be helpful in answering a reference question.

4.  Basic Research Tools (www.un.org/Depts/dhl/resguide/basic.htm) Most UN web sources do not go back to 1946.  This source identifies a few key print sources to be used before electronic sources begin.

5.  UN System Pathfinder (www.un.org/Depts/dhl/pathfind/frame/start.htm) Like the Basic Research Tools above, but this identifies a greater selection of basic reference tools It is comprehensive in its coverage of reference-type materials and includes key publications of historic value (i.e., dating back to the founding of the UN). 

6. UNBISNET (http://unbisnet.un.org)1985 to present, some earlier  Superb index to U.N. documents, speeches, sales publications, and  voting records.

7.  UNIQUE  ( http://lib-unique.un.org/lib/unique.nsf)  U.N. Info Quest Index, selected key documents 1946 to present.

8. U.N. Documentation Centre (http://www.un.org/documents/)  UN official documents full text.  Includes full text of all Security Council Resolutions for all years, and all General Assembly Resolutions from 1976 to present.

9.  CyberSchoolBus  (http://www.un.org/Pubs/CyberSchoolBus/)  Fantastic resource for younger kids on the UN and all sorts of international topics, very much age appropriate.  Fun and good educational value.

10.  Model United Nations  (http://www.un.org/Pubs/modelun/) The UN's own site for the UN simulations held in thousands of high schools and colleges over the world.  Age appropriate for teen-agers.  Sound and good.



II.  Documentation From Other UN Bodies.  Here are found many full text documents, especially for the last five to ten years.

International Court of Justice  
Permanent Court of Arbitration
International Labour Organization
ILO Labor Statistics
Innocenti Research Centre - significant publications on children's rights
UNCTAD Project on Dispute Settlement in International Trade, Investment and Intellectual Property full text course sections
United Nations Development Program, UNDP, includes Human Development Report
UNISPAL, United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine  Online collection of full text United Nations documents on the question of Palestine and the Arab-Israeli conflict.
UNESCO Working Documents Index from 1946, full text from 1995, both to the present.
UNESCO Statistics
UNICEF, United Nations Children's Agency, includes annual State of the World's Children full text
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, encyclopedic full text refugee information
United Nations Standards for Trade and Electronic Business  full text database
World Health Organization, includes annual World Health Report full text, 1995 to present
World Trade Organization Working Documents Full Text 1995 to the present.
WTO Legal Documents and Disputes Updates , World Trade Organization
Decisions of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization, Analysis from the European Journal of International Law 
World Income Inequality Database, 1950 to the present, from UNDP.



III.  Web Sites of the UN Specialized or External Agencies  Many contain full text documentation for recent years; also useful indexes, sometimes for the entire history of the organization.
 
  • FAO Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • IAEA International Atomic Energy Agency
  • IBRD International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank)
  • ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization
  • IFAD International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • IFC International Finance Corporation
  • ILO International Labour Organization
  • IMO International Maritime Organization
  • IMF International Monetary Fund
  • ITU International Telecommunications Union
  • MIGA Multilaterial Investment Guarantee Agency
  • UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
  • UNIDO United Nations Industrial Development Organization
  • UNESCO United Nations Educational,Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • UPU Universal Postal Union
  • World Bank
  • WHO World Health Organization
  • WIPO World Intellectual Property Organization
  • WMO World Meteorological Organization
  • WTO World Tourism Organization - Long established (1920s) but became a Specialized Agency in 2003
  • WTO World Trade Organization (Began 1995, formally GATT)



  • IV.  Regional Commissions  A wonderful amount of detail is found on the web sites of the five United Nations Regional Commission, including lots of country information and full text documents.

    V.  Useful Web Sites for UN Reseach From Outside the UN System.  The web is a wonderous place for information on the United Nations.  Source and attitude must always be considered.  The following are especially useful.
     
  • Academic Council of the UN System - Scholars working on UN issues.
  • ASIL Electronic Resources for International Law 
  • Avalon Project at Yale Law School, Documents in Law, History and Diplomacy
  • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • Country Reports  from the International Monetary Fund
  • Country Reports on Human Rights US State Department
  • Hague Conventions deposited with the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • United Nations Association / USA  Organization of both adults and kids interested in the UN - this is Model UN central.
  • United Nations Scholars Workstation at Yale
  • United Nations System, Index and Web Map
  • University of Minnesota Human Rights Library


  • Page last updated  7 November  2003 in the Social Science Reference Center of Princeton University Library.
    Comments and suggestions for this page are always welcome and can be addressed to sbwhite@princeton.edu.