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Collection Development Policy

Collection Development Policy

The policy followed by the UN Library & Archives Geneva for collections management and acquisition of material is currently based on the UN Secretary-General’s report: "Modernization and integrated management of United Nations libraries: new strategic directions" (

Management of the United Nations and Specialized Agencies Collections

The United Nations documents collection comprises a documentary record of the activities of the Organization.

  • Scope
    The collection includes documents and publications issued by major organs, subsidiary bodies, funds and programmes of the United Nations, documents of the conferences and preparatory/interim bodies as well as project reports.
  • Languages
    The documents are permanently kept in the six official languages of the Organization (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish).

The Specialized Agencies Collection comprises selected publications and parliamentary documentation of the specialized agencies and related bodies (FAO, IAEA, IBRD, IMF, ILO, UNESCO etc.). 

Management of the Collections of externally published materials

The collection of externally published materials comprises books, serials and electronic resources supporting the programmes and activities of the Organization: international law, international relations, political science, humanitarian affairs, human rights, disarmament, economic and social development etc.

  • National and linguistic coverage
    Materials are assembled with the aim of achieving a balance of national and linguistic coverage, as well as representing different points of view.
  • Official documents and gazettes from Governments
    The Library regularly receives official documents and gazettes from Governments as well as documents and publications from intergovernmental organizations outside the United Nations system such as the Organization of American States, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Organization of African Unity and the European Union.
  • Retention schedules
    Books are permanently kept. Serials are retained based on level of usage, reference value, historical significance, topical interest, multilingual balance, etc. Retention schedules are determined on a case-by-case basis by the Collection Management Committee. Serial retention schedules are reflected in the Library’s official cataloguing records.