The UN Library & Archives Geneva undertakes in-house and cooperative digitization projects to make the historical collections accessible online. It also digitizes smaller portions of its collections and individual documents subject to researchers’ request and availability of resources.
UNITED NATIONS HISTORICAL COLLECTIONS
Institutional Memory Section
Archives of Council and Council-Member States documents are available. Work continues on other portions of the League Official Documents. These documents are accessible online at: http://search.un.org
Universal Declaration of Human Rights preparatory materials, Sean Lester diaries, and Bertha von Suttner Papers are available online at: http://biblio-archive.unog.ch
UN Official Documents digitization programme
The UN Library & Archives Geneva has a programme to digitize official documents of the United Nations dating from1946-1993 in all six official languages. The digitized documents, mainly Security Council, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, and Trusteeship Council Official Records, are made available to the public in the Official Document System (ODS) and in the UN Digital Library. This work is done in collaboration with the Dag Hammarskjöld Library in New York.
Individual UN documents may be digitized on-demand at the request of clients. However, please note that priority will be given to the regular digitization programme. For more information, contact us at: https://ask.unog.ch.
TOTAL DIGITAL ACCESS TO THE LEAGUE OF NATIONS ARCHIVES PROJECT (LONTAD)
In 2017, the Institutional Memory Section of the UN Library Geneva launched a major five-year project (2017-2022) to digitize the entire League of Nations archives, Total Digital Access to the League of Nations Archives (LONTAD).
LONTAD will ensure digital and physical preservation and state-of-the-art free online access to around 15 million pages, or almost three linear kilometres of archival documents of the League of Nations (1919-1946). The League was the first global international organization aiming at the establishment of peace and cooperation and the predecessor of the United Nations.
The project will result in 250TB of data, over 500,000 units of descriptive metadata, rehousing and conservation of all physical originals according to modern standards, and improved climate control and fire prevention.
The LONTAD project is made possible through a generous donation of a private Swiss foundation.
To follow the project’s progress and to access currently digitized data, including the League photo collection, visit the Total Digital Access to the League of Nations Project (LONTAD) website.
Projects with Member States
The Institutional Memory Section and the Permanent Mission of Georgia signed a digitization agreement on 3 February 2012. In February 2015, the National Archives of Georgia sent two specialists to Geneva to begin the digitization of roughly 25,000 pages of material from the private papers collection of Khariton Chavichvili (1886-1975), a prominent Georgian diplomat and journalist.
After the completion of the initial digitization, the National Archives of Georgia will assist in the description of the material, as much of it is in the Georgian language. The Chavichvili papers provide a unique window into the history of Georgia during the Interwar Era and beyond. These archives consist of Chavichvili’s correspondence and manuscripts, as well as books and other publications about Georgia, U.S.S.R., and international relations.
Over 25,000 pages of League of Nations archival materials related to Azerbaijan and its neighbouring countries were digitized as part of a collaboration project between the Institutional Memory Section of the United Nations Library Geneva and the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The project agreement was signed in December 2016, and the handover of the digitized documents took place in September 2017.
The collection includes a diverse set of documents, including official correspondence, Caucasus countries’ applications for League of Nations membership including maps and surveys on culture and politics, and the League’s official documents related to Azerbaijan and neighbouring countries.
The project, entitled “Digitization of the League of Nations Archives Related to Azerbaijan 1919-1946,” is aimed at assisting the research activities of the National Library of Azerbaijan and at further improving regional dialogue and cooperation in the Caucasus region.
Over 35,000 pages of archives relating to Lithuania’s activities at the League of Nations (1920-1946), the first global international organisation aiming at the establishment of peace and cooperation and the precursor of the United Nations, are now available online.
The digitization agreement was signed in March 2014, It was completed early 2015.
The digitized files are now available at both the Central State Archives of Lithuania and the United Nations Archives at Geneva, as well as being available online, providing truly global access to these unique and significant materials that provide evidence for a critical period in the history of Lithuania.
In addition to improving access, the digitization of these documents provides a digital surrogate that is sufficient for most research needs, meaning that the original physical records will be handled less often, protecting them from possible damage and wear, and thereby improving their long-term preservation.
Projects with Partners
World Digital Library
Highlights of the League of Nations Archives; in collaboration with the Library of Congress (US government) and UNESCO, complete and available online at http://www.wdl.org
League of Nations Photo Archive
Over 1,400 photographs from the League of Nations have been digitized in collaboration with the Indiana University and are available on the Total Digital Access to the League of Nations Project (LONTAD) website.
Khariton Chavichvili Papers
Digitization of approximately 30,000 pages of materials from the private papers of the renowned Georgian diplomat and journalist; in collaboration with the Government of Georgia, digitization complete, post-digitization work under way.
League of Nations Refugee Mixed Archive Group (Nansen Fonds)
Digitizations were done in 2010-2011, based on the microfilm project completed in 2004
Over 300,000 pages of the Nansen refugee fonds, in collaboration with Fritt Ord and the Norwegian National Archives; complete and available online at: http://biblio-archive.unog.ch
League of Nations archives concerning minorities, including the High Commissioner for Refugees (Jewish and Other) Coming from Germany
Approximately 40,000 pages of archives materials, in collaboration with the US Holocaust Memorial Museum; digitization complete, post-digitization work under way.