The Dag Hammarskjöld Library contains approximately 400,000 books, 14,500 maps, over 80,000 periodicals and newspapers, and several hundred thousand documents and microfiches. The collection includes not only UN materials but also League of Nations records in its Woodrow Wilson Reading Room, as well as a general reference library on subjects related to the work of the UN. The library is for use by delegations, permanent missions, and the Secretariat and by scholars engaged in advanced research.
The United Nations Archives, located at 345 Park Avenue South in New York, dates from the establishment of the United Nations. Its 35 linear feet of holdings include both inactive administrative records created by Secretariat offices, as well as archival records that constitute the organization's institutional memory. Each year, approximately 50 researchers cull its archives for information about the UN's predecessors, the Secretary-General's "good offices" role, and the organization's mediating and peacekeeping activities.
The earliest records emanate from predecessor organizations, including the International Penal and Penitentiary Commission (1893–1951); United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (1943–48), which assisted liberated areas devastated by World War II; United Nations War Crimes Commission (1943–49) whose 17 Allied members together developed procedures for apprehending and punishing war criminals; and the United Nations Conference on International Organization (1945), at which the United Nations was chartered.
From its very beginning, a number of regional conflicts required that the new organization assume the role of peacekeeper. Consequently, the UN Archives maintains records associated with a wide variety of peacekeeping missions, ranging from the UN Special Committee on Palestine (1947), to the organization's electoral mission in Cambodia. Issues arising from colonialism also required early UN involvement. Archival holdings document the establishment of trusteeships for supervising elections and the transition to independence. The organization's technical assistance function in international social and economic development is, likewise, reflected among the archives' records.
Records are generally open for research at the end of 20 years. Strictly confidential records, or those with special restrictions (such as the War Crimes Commission records), require express authorization for access. Those wishing to research UN Archives records should submit the Archives Researcher Application form to the Archives and Records Centre, 304 East 45th Street, Ground Floor, New York, New York 10017. Fax: (212) 963-4414. Telephone: (212) 963-8683; (212) 963-8612. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
UN headquarters houses one of the world's largest photocopying and printing plants. Most UN documents are produced in photocopy form for the use of members and the Secretariat. Some documents, as well as many reports and studies, are issued as UN publications for sale to the public. They are available in the bookshop at UN headquarters and from distributors worldwide.
In the United States and Canada, Bernan Associates (formerly UNIPUB) distributes UN publications and publishes scholarly books by the United Nations University Press. It also distributes the publications of the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), World Trade Organization (WTO), and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Bernan is located in Lanham, Maryland, and can be reached from the United States at (800) 274-4888 or via email at email@example.com. The Bernan Associates web site can also be accessed at www.bernan.com . Other UN publications are available from the United Nations Publications Sales Section at UN Headquarters, (212) 963-8302 or (800) 253-9646 (for North America, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Asia and the Pacific); and from the Publications des Nations Unies (in Geneva), (41 22) 917 2600 or (41 22) 917 2614 (for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East). The UN Publications office also has a web site at http://www.un.org/Pubs/sales.htm , where the searchable catalog of UN publications may be accessed and orders placed.