Level of description
Extent and medium
Name of creator
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was founded by thirty-seven countries as a result of the United Nations Conference for the establishment of an educational and cultural organization (ECO/CONF). Its Constitution, signed on 16 November 1945, came into force on 4 November 1946 after ratification by twenty countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, France, Greece, India, Lebanon, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, United Kingdom and United States. The first session of the General Conference of UNESCO was held in Paris from 19 November to 10 December 1946 with the participation of representatives from 30 governments entitled to vote.
Member States :
The ashes of the Second World War are reflected in the composition of the founding Member States of UNESCO. Japan and the Federal Republic of Germany became members in 1951, Spain in 1953. Other major historical factors, as the Cold War, the decolonization process and the dissolution of the USSR, also left their trace on UNESCO. The USSR joined UNESCO in 1954 and was replaced by the Russian Federation in 1992. Nineteen African States became Members in 1960. Twelve Republics from the former Soviet Union joined UNESCO in the period 1991 to 1993. As a consequence of its entry into the United Nations, the People's Republic of China has been the only legitimate representative of China at UNESCO since 1971. The German Democratic Republic was a Member from 1972 to 1990, when it joined the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1984, the United States withheld its contributions and withdrew from the organization in protest, followed by the United Kingdom in 1985 and Singapore in 1986. Following a change of government in 1997, the UK rejoined. The United States rejoined in 2003, followed by Singapore on 8 October 2007.
Since 1999 considerable reforms were implemented by UNESCO to restructure and decentralize the Organization’s staff and activities. These included the reduction of the number of divisions, allowing a corresponding halving of the number of directors and negotiated staff departures. In addition, the Internal Oversight Service (IOS) was established in 2001 to improve organizational performance by including the lessons learned from programme evaluations into the overall reform process.
Afterwards the diversity of methods of publication that are involved in carrying out the programme of UNESCO makes it difficult to identify and collect all publications in which UNESCO has taken any part. Publications of this period may also be kept in the library only.
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
The Archive Group consists of publications produced or funded by the UNESCO Secretariat from the foundation of UNESCO in 1946 until now. The Archival Group is arranged into three collections:
- Works published directly by UNESCO under its own imprint (complete until December 1971, afterwards some publications might be missing);
- Works published through financial or other forms of assistance from UNESCO;
- Works issued by National Commissions under agreement with the UNESCO Secretariat (for the most part these are translations of publications issued by UNESCO).
The Archive Group does not contain publications relating to UNESCO and its activities written independently of the Organization. This also applies to any publications of National Commissions which are not translations or adaptations of UNESCO publications and were not issued under contract.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
System of arrangement
Conditions of access and use area
Conditions governing access
Conditions governing reproduction
Language of material
Script of material
Language and script notes
Physical characteristics and technical requirements
From 1972 on (partly also publications before 1972):
UNESCO Document and Publication Database (UNESDOC database)
AG 7/3: List of UNESCO periodicals
AG 7/3: List of Unesco serial publications with ARC codes
AG 7/4: Registers of publications by ARC-code, 1946-
AG 7/5: Card-index of publications, 1946-1971
AG 7/6 : National Commissions for Unesco: publications catalogue 1968, 1972; also registers 1947-
AG 7/6: Registers of publications of Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) working in close collaboration with UNESCO, 1945-
AG 7/6 Bib : Bibliographies publiées sous les auspices de l'Unesco.
AG 7/6 BIE: International Bureau of Education: list of publications. 1928-1969
AG 7/6 IIE: International Institute of Educational Planning: publications catalogue.
AG 7/6 IOC: Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission. List of IOC publications in stock.
AG 7/6 OER: Unesco Collection of Representative Works: catalogue (Unesco programme for the translation of literary works)
AG 7/6 OER: Selected lists of representative works of Arabic, European and Latin American literature.
AG 7/6 OER: List of Representative Works of World Literature. 1973
AG 7/6 ICA: International Council on Archives: list of publications
AG 7/6 Maps: Register of maps kept by the Archives
The UNESCO Courier, 1948-2002, via UNESDOC database