General information about the United Nations at
The sources described here provide general information on the United Nations, like...
UW-Madison's Memorial Library
- what it did in a particular year
- what peace-keeping operations it is involved in
- what its budget is
- what different UN agencies do
- what nations belong and when they joined
If you need additional assistance, please contact the government documents librarian at firstname.lastname@example.org or 262-9852, or ask at the Reference Desk, Room 262.
Books published by the United Nations
United Nations. Department of Public Information. Basic Facts about the United Nations. New York: Department of Public Information, 2004. (UN Sales Publication no. E.04.I.07)
- Location: Memorial Reference Stacks, JX1977 A37 B3 (See MadCat for locations of earlier editions.)
- Content: Overview of what the UN and its major bodies and departments do. Also discusses the major projects, peace-keeping efforts and achievements of the UN. Provides some historical background.
- Format/organization: By topic.
United Nations. Department of Public Information. Yearbook of the United Nations.
- Location: Memorial Reference Stacks, JX 1977 A37 Y4
Issued annually, 1947-present
- Content/organization: Describes what the United Nations did in a given year. Includes information on the UN budget. Lag time of 2-3 years between the year covered and when the Yearbook is published.
- Report of the Secretary-General on the Work of the Organization gives an overall report of U.N.'s activities.
- Each volume is then divided into six broad topical sections which summarize the major activities of the principal organs (major deliberative bodies of the UN, which are: 1) General Assembly; 2) Economic and Social Council; 3) Security Council; Trusteeship Council; 4) International Court of Justice; and 5) Secretariat, headed by the Secretary General) and selected subsidiary bodies. Topical sections reproduce or summarize the resolutions and decisions of the major organs and give related procedural information (the date of adoption, vote totals, information on the approval by a sessional or subsidiary body prior to final adoption, approved amendments and committee reports, and a list of the sponsors).
- The yearbook also includes:
- references to Official Records and other documents.
- a subject index and an index of resolutions and decisions (by resolution/decision number).
- five appendices that provide information on the structure of the UN.
Books published by commercial publishers
Annual Review of United Nations Affairs. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana Publications, 1950- .
Baratta, Joseph Preston. United Nations System. International Organization Series, vol. 10. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Publishers, 1995.
- Location: Memorial Regular Stacks, JX1977 A1 A5
Latest edition in Reference Stacks, JX1977 A1 A5
- Content: Volumes issued for each session since 1949; recent sessions are covered in multiple volumes.
- Volumes covering 1949-1987: Summaries/analyses of topical issues. Indexed by subject.
- Volumes covering 1988-1991: Reprint text of key documents (resolutions, decisions, agendas, annual reports). Arranged by organ. Indexed by subject.
- Volumes covering 1991-present: Reprint text of key documents (resolutions, decisions, agendas, annual reports). Arranged by organ. No subject index.
- Location: Memorial Reference Stacks, JX1977 B284 1995
- Content: Selective, critical, annotated bibliography covering books, articles, pamphlets, directories, databases, and theses. Covers mainly materials about, not published by, the UN, though the most important official publications are included.
- Organization: by broad topic.
Matsuura, Kumiko, et al. Chronology and Factbook of the United Nations 1941-1991. (Supplement to Annual Review of United Nations Affairs.) Dobbs Ferry, NY: Oceana, 1992./DT>
Osmanczyk, Edmund Jan. Edited by Anthony Mango. Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International Agreements. 3rd ed. New York: Routledge, 2003.
- Location: Memorial Reference Stacks, JX1977 A1 C48 1941/91
- Mainly chronological lists.
- There is no subject index.
- Detailed chronology of major actions and votes taken by the UN & its organs;
- Lists of the member states of and the presidents of the UN organs;
- Chronological list and brief descriptions of UN peace-keeping operations;
- Current international decades and years, annual days and weeks; and
- Documents relating to the establishment of the UN and rules of procedure for the major organs.
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- Location: Memorial Reference Stacks, JX1977 O8213 2003
- Brief explanations of international agreements, conventions, and treaties, quoted in part or in their entirety;
- Definitions of political, economic, military, geographical and sociological terms, and terms used in diplomacy and international law;
- Entries on the UN, its agencies, and intergovernmental and non-governmental agencies the UN cooperates with.
- Entries also direct where to go for additional information.
- Organization: Entries arranged in alphabetical order.
- Comprehensive list of articles at beginning of volume 1.
- Index at the end of volume 4.
Web sites maintained by the United Nations
United Nations Home Page
Official Web Site Locator for the United Nations System of Organizations
- URL: http://www.un.org/english/
- Maintained by the UN's Department of Public Information in New York City. Page also available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish.
- Best sections for background information:
- About the United Nations: history, accomplishments, charter of UN: organizational chart, list of member states, section on UN reform.
- United Nations News Centre: press releases from last 30 days (plus searchable databases of press releases going back to October 1995), UN Daily News (under "Resources") going back to July 2004; recent press releases & background papers from the Office of the Spokesman for the Secretary-General.
- Member States: lists of member nations and when they joined, contact information for and links to home pages of permanent missions to the UN in New York & Geneva
- Also includes: links to the main UN bodies, to documents and document/publication catalogues, and a section on "Conferences and Events."
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- URL: http://www.unsystem.org/
- Alphabetic list of links to home pages of UN agencies.
- "Thematic index" link allows you to "search" for sites by subjects--in reality, it allows you to choose from a predetermined list of subjects, which then brings up a list of relevant sites.
Periodical published by the United Nations
UN Chronicle. New York, NY : United Nations Office of Public Information, 1975- &npsp; .Vol. 12, no. 4 (Apr. 1975)- . Issued quarterly.
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United Nations Documents at Memorial Library | Government Documents at Memorial Library |
- Location: Memorial Regular Stacks, AP U1005 N1005; current issues in Periodicals Room.
- Available online from...
- ...the UN's web site, http://www.un.org/Pubs/chronicle/. Selected articles available from 1997 forward.
- ...the UW Libraries' E-Resource Gateway (on the UW Libraries home page, www.library.wisc.edu), in the following databases:
- Academic Search, June 1990-February 1996;
- ProQuest Research Library, March 1988-February 1996; and
- Readers' Guide Full Text, March 1994-December 1995.
- Preceded by: UN Monthly Chronicle. New York: United Nations, Office of Public Information. Vol. 1 (May 1964)-v. 12, no. 3 (Mar. 1975)
- Location: Memorial Periodicals Stacks: AP U1007 (v.12, no. 1-3 shelved under: AP U1005 N1005)
- See MadCat for complete list of holdings
- Indexed by: Readers' Guide Full Text to Periodical Literature; Social Sciences Index(both available from the UW-Madison Libraries' E-Resource Gateway, on the UW Libraries home page, www.library.wisc.edu/).
- Content: Both periodicals, the UN Monthly Chronicle and its successor, the UN Chronicle, includes articles covering events the UN is involved in and the work of the UN; and topical articles, usually on a given theme, like "Science, Technology, and Human Rights" or "War on Childhood." Older issues include summaries of debates and speeches.
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Page created April 1999; last updated 12/27/05.
Created by Beth Harper & Jessica Donohoe.Beth Harper
Government Documents Reference Librarian
276 Memorial Library
728 State St, Madison WI 53706