Series - Representative Works

Identity area

Reference code


Representative Works


  • 1948 - 2005 (Accumulation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

Ca. 1060 works

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Scope and content

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 projects purpose 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 1060 works in the catalog representing over sixty-five different literatures and representing around fifty Oriental languages, twenty European languages as well as 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 then 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.

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Finding aids

Catalog and search tool of all works available online.

For index and location, search in 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.

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Exemplars of all works in the archives and UNESCO library

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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.

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physical storage

  • UNESCO Publications