Series 3 - Photo archives

Identity area

Reference code



Photo archives


  • 1945- (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

  • circa 29,000 35mm colour slides
  • 140,000 black and white 35mm negatives
  • 1,000 colour 35mm negatives
  • in addition 15,000 duplicate colour slides

Context area


Archival history

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

The photo archives of the Bureau of Public Information handles and preserves most of the photographic material produced by UNESCO.

Some more photographic material is preserved in the UNESCO Archives and includes photos produced by UNESCO and other photographic material used for exhibitions and publications.

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The photo archives cover the period from the foundation of UNESCO until today and contain photographic material of all big events, conferences, meetings which include the participation of the Director General, visits of the important persons and missions of the Director General. They further contain pictures used for exhibitions or publications of UNESCO and material donated by other institutions, member States of delegations.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Continuous accruals

System of arrangement

Chronologically and by subject

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

Part of the photography holdings - mainly the most interesting and important pictures - have been scanned and are accessible online via the UNESCO photobank.

All other photographic material can be searched and accessed via the Audiovisual Section of the Bureau of Public Information or the UNESCO Archives.

Conditions governing reproduction

Reproduction and digitalization upon request

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Until the beginning of the years 2000, all photographic material produced by UNESCO were 35 mm negatives and slides (black and white and later colour). 23,000 of those have been scanned and are accessible via the photobank. All photos taken during the last years are in digital format and stored on a server accessible via BPI.

Finding aids

Around 25,000 photos with a high public interest are indexed in the the UNESCO photobank.

All other photos kept by the Bureau of Public Information are inventoried on card indexes and on chronological lists, available in the photo archives of BPI.

AG 12/3: BPI: Register of photographs, 1945-

AG 12/3: BPI: Register of Negatives, 1945-

AG 12/3: Diapositives/Slides UNESCO

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

Dates of creation revision deletion

Created by Julia Pohle, September 2009




Accession area

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