Collection - Audio archives

Identity area

Reference code


Audio archives


  • 1950- (Creation)

Level of description


Extent and medium

About 30.000 sound records

Context area


Archival history

The systematic production and archiving of sound records started in the 1950s when a special audio section of the Bureau of Public Information was established. Before, conferences and speeches had been recorded as well and were integrated in the new sound collection.
Since 1966/68 the sound recording is under two different responsibilities: the Bureau of Public Information kept the responsibility for the production and custody of all material used for the UNESCO radio transmissions; meanwhile the new founded sounds archives took over the recording of conferences, speeches and all meetings of the General Conference and the Executive Board.
The UNESCO radio program stopped in 1999 when UNESCO decided to give priority to information spreading via internet, but the recordings from the period 1950 to 1999 are still kept by the Bureau of Public Information.
In recent times, a significant decrease in demands of sound recording can be noticed and thus, much less audio material is produced by UNESCO.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Content and structure area

Scope and content

The sound records contain mostly sound recordings of conferences and other events, speeches of the Director General and other important persons, but also music recordings, interviews and the UNESCO radio programs.

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling


Continuous accruals, especially in the collection of sound recordings of the General Conference and the Executive Board meetings.

System of arrangement

Chronological arrangement

Conditions of access and use area

Conditions governing access

The sound material is not easily accessible for outside researchers. Especially for the recordings of the General Conference and Executive Board meetings access is gained - as a general rule - only to member of the Secretariat, Member States or member of the Executive Board. All other sound records might be accessible upon request.

A growing number of sound records of particular interest will be made available on the UNESCO Archives Multimedia website.

Conditions governing reproduction

Reproduction upon request within the access restrictions mentioned above.

Language of material

Script of material

Language and script notes

Physical characteristics and technical requirements

Sound records on tapes, partly digitized.
Recent recordings are entirely digital.

Generated finding aid

Allied materials area

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

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Notes area

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Description control area

Description identifier

Institution identifier

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Accession area

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