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Guide to United Nations Information In the NSU Law Library

Rhonda Gold, Reference Librarian/International & U.N. Collections
Nova Southeastern University

Nova Southeastern University Law Library and Technology Center has been a depository library for official documents of the United Nations since 1977 and is the only United Nations depository in South Florida. As a full United Nations depository, NSU Law receives Official Records of the main organs of the United Nations, selected periodicals and the United Nations Treaty Series. The depository program does not include materials from the specialized agencies within the United Nations system (e.g. FAO, WTO, ILO, WHO, UNICEF and UNESCO). United Nations materials are located on the northwest side of the first floor of the library.

General Information

Following is a list of books in the NSU Law Library containing information about the structure, mission, documentation and activities of the United Nations.

Basic Facts about the United Nations. New York, United Nations.
Discusses history, structure and objectives of the United Nations. General introduction to the role and function of the UN and its related agencies.
JX 1977. A37 B3

Chronology and Fact Book of the United Nations. Kumiko Matsuura. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana, 1992.
An irregular supplement to the series Annual Review of United Nations Affairs.
JX 1977.A1 A5 SUPP 1941-1991.

A Comprehensive Handbook of the United Nations. Min-chuan Ku. New York:
Monarch Press, 1978.
Contains basic laws, rules and regulations dealing with substantive and procedural matters of important organs of the United Nations and its affiliated agencies.
JX 1977. C6123.

The Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements. Edmund Jan Osmanczyk. Philadelphia: Taylor and Francis, 1985.
Encyclopedia of international governmental organizations related information including definitions of key terms, biographies and the descriptions and selected texts of major international treaties, conventions and agreements.
JX 1977. O8213 1985.

Everymanís United Nations + A Complete Handbook of the Activities and Evolution of The United Nations During Its First Twenty Years 1945 + 1965. 8th Ed., New York: United Nations, 1968.
JX 1977.A37 E9

A Guide to the Use of United Nations Documents(Including Reference to the Specialized Agencies and Special U.N. Bodies). Brenda Brimmer and others. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. Oceana Publications, 1962.
Explains structure of U.N. publishing and classification. Lists documents series, publications and indexes for each of the specialized agencies.
Z 674.N47 No.3

International Information: Documents, Publications and Electronic Information of International Governmental Organizations. 2nd edition. Peter Hajnal, Editor. Englewood, Colorado, Libraries Unlimited, 1997.
Comprehensive overview of international organizations, their documents, publications and electronic information.
JZ 4850. I58 1997.

Introduction to International Organizations. Edited by Lyonette Louis-Jacque and Jeanne S. Korman. New York: Ocean/AALL, 1996.
Proceedings of a 1993 AALL Institute on international organizations. Includes chapters on using United Nations Documents, United Nations Regional Commissions, U.N. Bibliographic and Background Tools, and Electronic Sources of U.N. Information.
JX 1954 .I57 1996

United Nations Handbook. Wellington, New Zealand. Ministry of External Relations and Trade.1989-
Annual list of U.N. organs and specialized agencies. Descriptions include functions, structure, current membership and activities.
JX 1977 .A38

UN Chronicle
Quarterly magazine containing a summary of latest activities at the UN. Updates the UN Yearbook. Current edition online at Table of contents for back issues. Selected full text from 1983 is available online in Nexis, "News" Library,"ASAPII" file and on Westlaw, UNCHRONICLE database from 3/94 -.
Print version from 1964 on 1st Floor.

Yearbook of the United Nations. New York: UN Department of Public Information (Co-published by Martinus Nijhoff since 1989), 1949 -
Overview of yearís activities; full text of key resolutions; references to major reports.
JX 1977 .A37Y4

The Charter of the United Nations and the Statute of the International Court of Justice are included in each Yearbook. The United States Statutes at Large citation for the Charter of the United Nations and the Statute of the International Court of Justice is 59 Stat. 1031.

Specialized UN Sources

International Court of Justice Yearbook. The Hague: International Court of Justice.
The ICJ Yearbook provides general information concerning the Courtís organization, jurisdiction, activities and administration.
JX 1971.6 .A25

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law Yearbook. New York: U.N.
The UNCITRAL Yearbook contains the report of the annual session of the Commission. Subjects Covered include electronic funds transfers, stand-by letters of credit, international commercial arbitration and international sale of goods.

United Nations Juridicial Yearbook. New York: United Nations
Includes selected texts of documents concerning the legal status and legal activities of organizations within the U.N. system and legal opinions of the Secretariats of the United Nations and related intergovernmental organizations. Also included is a legal bibliography of materials published during the year about the United Nations and related intergovernmental organizations.
JX 1977 .A2

Yearbook of the International Law Commission. New York: United Nations
This yearbook is a summary of reports and documents of the Commission . Published in two volumes, the yearbook contains the record of the Law Commissionís current session, including the agenda, the report to the General Assembly and summary records of the meetings of the session.
JX 1977 .A435


The paper documents in the U.N.collection are either mimeos or Official Records. Mimeos are temporary working documents of the UN. Many mimeograph documents are reprinted as Official Records, which are the permanent records of the major UN organs. The major organs for which we receive the Official Records are the General Assembly and its Main Committees (GAOR), the Security Council (SCOR), the Economic and Social Council (ESCOR), the Trusteeship Council (TCOR) and the Trade and Development Board (TDBOR) of UNCTAD. The library also subscribes to the Readex United Nations Law Collection and has mimeographed documents on microfiche from 1998 to the present. The microfiche are located in L111, the library microforms room.

In addition to the paper documents, we have the following treatises, which reprint documents using official U.N materials as the source.

Annual Review of United Nations Affairs. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana, 1949-
Reprints key UN documents reflecting the work of the organization on an annual basis. Comprehensive coverage is provided for the five key United Nations organs: The General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the International Court of Justice and the Secretariat.
JX1977. A1 A5.

Reports of Judgments, Advisory Opinions and Orders = Recueil des Arrets, Avis Consultatifs et Ordonnances. International Court of Justice, 1976 - .
This is an official ICJ publication. Also available on Westlaw
JX 1971.6 A3

Resolutions and Decisions of the Security Council. Compiled and edited by Dusan J. Donovich. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications.
The texts of resolutions are reprinted from the original United Nations documents. This 11 volume set contains Security Council Resolutions from 1946 + 1979.
JX 1977 .A3155 D572

United Nations Resolutions. Series 1, Resolutions Adopted by the General Assembly. Compiled and edited by Dusan J. Djonovich. Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications.
The texts of resolutions are reprinted from the original United Nations documents. This 24 volume set contains General Assembly Resolutions from 1946 + 1986.
JX 1977 .A3155 D57

Yearbook of the United Nations, listed above, includes the full text of key resolutions passed during the year. 

United Nations Document Symbols

United Nations mimeograph documents and official records received by the NSU Law Library are filed in boxes in ranges 125 through 133. The documents are filed by the U.N. document symbol printed on the upper right hand corner of the piece. United Nations document symbols are a combination of letters and numbers which reflect the main UN body which produced the document, the subsidiary body (if applicable) and the session number. A slash (/) separates the components of the symbol.

The first letter(s) indicate 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

Specific symbols have been designated for certain subsidiary organs of the UN. Listed below are symbols for some of the UN bodies whose documents are received by the law library.

  • CAT/ - Committee Against Torture
  • CCPR/ - Human Rights Committee
  • CD + Conference on Disarmament
  • CEDAW + Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women
  • CERD - International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination
  • CLCS + Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf
  • CRC + Committee on the Rights of the Child
  • DP- United Nations Development Program
  • HRI + International Human Rights IInstruments
  • FCCC + Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • ID-UN Industrial Development Organization
  • TD + United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
  • UNEP + United Nations Environment Programme

The symbol after the first slash indicates which subsidiary body of the main organ produced the document. Some examples are:

  • /AC Ad Hoc Committee (A/AC.105 is the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space)
  • /C Standing, permanent, main committee (E/C.2 is the ECOSOC Committee on governmental organizations).
  • /CN Commission (E/CN.4 is the ESOSOC Commission on Human Rights)

The type of document is indicated by abbreviations. Examples are:

  • /Add. Addendum
  • / Corr. Correction
  • /NGO Statement by nongovernmental organizations
  • / PV Verbatim record of meetings
  • /RES Mimeographed test of adopted resolutions
  • /SR Summary records of meetings.

Comprehensive information about UN documentation and research is included in the United Nations Documentation: Research Guide at

Indexes and Finding Aids

Bibliographic information for many books and periodicals published by the United Nations have been entered into Novacat, Nova Southeastern Universityís online catalog.

UNDEX (1970 - 1978)
Served as the general index to UN Publishing. This index has a subject index, a country index and a list of documents issued.

UNDOC (1979 - 1996)
Comprehensive official printed index of UN publications published between 1979 - 1996. Includes mimeographed documents, sales publications and Official Records.

United Nations Document Checklist (October 1996 + December 1997)
Documents are arranged by Document Series Symbols only. There is no subject, author or title index.

United Nations Document Index (January 1998 +
This index has a subject, author and title index. The above indexes are located in range number 125 on the northwest side of the 1st floor.

United Nations Document Series Symbols 1946 + 1996 + ST/LIB/SER.B/5/Rev.5
A guide to United Nations documentation series symbols.

Index to Proceedings

Index to Proceedings of the Economic and Social Council - ST/LIB/SER.B/E

Index to Proceedings of the General Assembly + ST/LIB/SER.B/A

Index to Proceedings of the Security Council + ST/LIB/SER.B/S

Index to Proceedings of the Trusteeship Council + ST/LIB/SER.B/T

Published for each session, these are indexes to the proceedings and documentation of the four principal organs of the United Nations. Each volume contains an introduction, a subject index, an index to speeches and a numerical list of documents. A voting chart of adopted resolutions is included in the General Assembly and Security Council indexes.


Index to Resolutions of the Security Council 1946 + 1996. ST/LIB/SER.H/5/Rev.1
The Index contains a Checklist of Resolutions arranged by document symbol (resolution number), which provides date, meeting number and year, as well as a subject index.

Security Council Resolutions are identified as follows: S/RES/Resolution Number/Year.
Resolutions are first published separately as mimeographed paper documents. An annual compilation of resolutions is subsequently issued as Resolutions and Decision of the Security Council S/INF/.

General Assembly Resolutions are numbered as follows: A/RES/Resolution Number/Year.
Resolutions are first issued separately as mimeographed paper documents and are reissued as the last numbered supplement of the official records as Resolutions and Decisions Adopted by the General Assembly during its (session number) Session.

Electronic Resources

Access/UN - Index to United Nations Documents and Publications. Readex/Newsbank
New Canaan, CT.
NSU Library and Technology subscribes to Access/UN, an online database containing bibliographic citations of U.N. documents and publications, official records and journal articles published since 1966. Full-text resolutions of the General Assembly (1981 - ), the Security Council (1974 - ), and the Economic and Social Council (1982 - ) are appended to their respective bibliographic citations. The Index supports access to the paper and the microfiche holdings of the Readex United Nations Collection. We have microfiche holdings from 1998. Access/UN Database is available from the law libraryís menu.

UNBISnet is an online index to United Nations documentation published since 1979. It includes voting records of resolutions adopted by the General Assembly and the Security Council. Citations to speeches made in the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council and the Trusteeship Council are searchable in the database.

United Nations Homepage
The full text of Security Council resolutions from 1946 is available on the internet at
The full text of General Assembly Resolutions from 1977 is available at http://www/

United Nations Dag Hammarskjold Library
Includes links to the UN Documentation Research Guide, Reference Guide, UN System Pathfinder (identifies major publication of UN organizations), Documents Alert (documents release within last two months) and UN-I-QUE (UN Info Quest), a database providing quick access to UN documents of a recurring nature that are frequently accessed.

WEB Site Locator for the United Nations System of Organizations
This web site provides access to the web sites of UN programs, the specialized agencies, autonomous bodies and other groups that deal with United Nations issues.

International Court of Justice
The ICJ is the supreme judicial organ of the United Nations and is located in the Hague. Only States (not individuals) may bring cases to the court, which is composed of 15 judges elected to nine year terms by both the General Assembly and the Security Council. The official ICJ web site contains general information about the Court, basic documents, decisions, and other information. The site provides links to all cases and advisory opinions referred to the Court since 1996.
Can also link to the ICJ web site from the United Nations Homepage + select International Law.
Reports of Judgments, Advisory Opinions and Orders dating back to 1947 are available on theWestlaw INT-ICJ Database.

ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law
The ASIL site is an extensive listing of official UN web sites, and provides links to and information about other electronic sources of United Nations information.

United Nations Scholars Workstation at Yale University
This is another comprehensive web site with links to finding aids, texts and electronic sources of information in subject areas including disarmament, environment, human rights, international trade and peacekeeping.


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