- 1948 - 2005 (Accumulation)
Level of description
Extent and medium
Ca. 1,300 works
Name of creator
Immediate source of acquisition or transfer
Content and structure area
Scope and content
The UNESCO Collection of Representative Works (or UNESCO Catalogue of Representative Works) was a UNESCO translation project that was active for about 57 years, from 1948 to about 2005. The purpose of the project was to translate masterpieces of world literature, primarily from a lesser known language into a more international language such as English and/or French. There were ~1,300 works in the catalog, consisting of over sixty-five different works of literature and representing around fifty Oriental languages, twenty European languages, and a number of African and Oceanian literatures and languages. The project also included translations from one less widely known language into another.
UNESCO financed the translations and publications, but UNESCO itself was not a publisher, instead working with other publishers who sold the books independently.
Appraisal, destruction and scheduling
As of about 2005, UNESCO was no longer able to fund new translations. Thus, there are no further accruals to this sub-fond expected.
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
Catalog of all works translated by UNESCO since 1948: Literature & Translation database.
Documents and publications of the UNESCO Representative Works programme: UNESDOC database.
Catalogues available in the UNESCO Archives:
AG 7/6 OER: Unesco Collection of Representative Works: catalogue (Unesco programme for the translation of literary works),1989;
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.
Central Registry files, 1st series, 1946-1956:
803 A 064
803 A 52
Proposals of Member States:
Administrative and financial records (publication transactions):
Allied materials area
Existence and location of originals
Exemplars of all works in the archives and UNESCO library
Existence and location of copies
Related units of description
Subject access points
Place access points
Name access points
- UNESCO (Subject)
Genre access points
Description control area
Rules and/or conventions used
Level of detail
Maunick, Edouard J.:A Library of world classics. In: The Unesco Courier: a window open on the world. XXXIX, 1, 1986, p. 5-6, 8.