Archive Group AG 12 - Audiovisual archives

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Identity area

Reference code



Audiovisual archives


Level of description

Archive Group

Extent and medium

12,500 film cans; 9,000 video tapes; 29,000 35mm colour slides; 140,000 black and white 35mm negatives; 1,000 colour 35mm negatives; 15,000 duplicate colour slides; over 30.000 audio recordings.

Context area


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

UNESCO's historical audiovisual collection was kept by the Division of Public Information until 2015, when the collection was transferred to the UNESCO Archives.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The photo and audiovisual archives consist of analogue and digital records dating from 1945 up until the present day.

  • Photographs: 140,000 black and white negatives; 1,000 colour 35mm négatives; 29,000 35mm colour slides; 15,000 duplicate cover slides; photographic prings, 1945 to the present.

  • Films: 12,500 cans, containing over 1,000 titles, 1951 onwards.

  • Sound recordings: 30,000 reels, including UNESCO Radio reports and interviews, and event and programme recordings, 1940s to 1980s.

  • Video tapes: 5,000 tapes, corresponding to 2,500 titles, 1983 onwards.

A part of UNESCO's film and sound recordings, documenting UNESCO events and meetings since 1945, are kept in the UNESCO Phonothèque of the Sound and Telephone unit.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Continuous accruals

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

In 2018, the UNESCO Archives launched a two-year digitization project, funded by the People of Japan. As part of the project, 5,000 photographs, 45 hours of 16mm film (100 film titles); 30 hours of video programmes from the 1980s on UMATIC cassettes; and 20,000 audio recordings were digitized. The digitized collections are currently accessible on the Digitizing Our Shared UNESCO History website.

A growing amount of the film and audio material kept by the UNESCO Archives is accessible via the UNESCO Archives Multimedia website.

Part of the photography holdings are accessible online via the UNESCO photobank.

Other film, photo and audio material is accessible upon request at:

Please see sub-fonds for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

See under each series for a list of finding aids related to UNESCO film, audio, or photo archives.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related units of description

Related descriptions

Notes area

Alternative identifier(s)

Access points

Subject access points

Place access points

Name access points

Genre access points

Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

Rules and/or conventions used


Level of detail




Accession area

Related subjects

Related people and organizations

Related genres

Related places