Archive Group AG 7 - UNESCO Publications

Identity area

Reference code



UNESCO Publications


Level of description

Archive Group

Extent and medium

More than 5000 books and journals for the period 1946-1971 and approximately 5000 publications for the period 1971 until now.

Context area

Name of creator

Administrative history

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.


Archival history

The archival group is very comprehensive and nearly complete for the years 1946 to 1971. This part is listed by the inventory "Bibliography of publications issued by UNESCO under its auspices for the first twenty-five years: 1946 to 1971".
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

As indicated by the Administrative Manual, the UNESCO Archives is the legal depot for UNESCO publications. Creating units are therefore responsible for the direct transfer of one exemplar of all publications to the archives. Publications issued with the assistance of UNESCO are transferred as per the terms of the agreement for their creation.

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


Continuous accruals.

System of arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Restrictions for unauthorized publications

Conditions governing reproduction

Language of material

  • Arabic
  • Chinese
  • English
  • French
  • Russian
  • Spanish

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Finding aids

AG 7/1: Bibliography of publications issued by UNESCO or under its auspices the first twenty-five years, 1946-1971

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

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Some of the more recent works might only be kept in the UNESCO library.

Existence and location of copies

Most of the publications are also available in the UNESCO library.

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

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by Julia Pohle, June 2009. Revised AWT 9 March 2011.




Accession area

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