By Lucy Cox, Reference Librarian Rutgers-Camden School of Law Library I. INTRODUCTION
It has been estimated that the United Nations generates over 40,000 documents a year. Since this library is not an official U.N. document depository, we only receive a select number of U.N. publications. The United Nations is a complex organization which is made up of several main organizations and various subsidiary and affiliated organs. For this reason, people beginning research involving U.N. documents would benefit by reviewing the following:
A. Everyone's United Nations, Call # JX1977.A37 E9 (Location: 5th Floor)
This is published by the U.N. and is a very useful introduction to the organization of the U.N. and the work carried out by its various bodies.
B. Yearbook of the United Nations, Call # JX1977.A37 Y4 (Location: 5th Floor)
This describes the work of the U.N. during a specific year. It also contains basic information, such as the membership of the various agencies and has references to documentation issued during the year. Unfortunately, it is often very late in being published.
C. U.N. Chronicle, Periodicals, (Location: 4th Floor)
This is published monthly, and is a good source for current coverage of U.N. activity. It can be used to find information for years not yet covered by a Yearbook.
Every U.N. document has a symbol consisting of a combination of letters and numbers, separated by slashes. These symbols contain information regarding the issuing body within the U.N., what type of information the document contains, and sometimes the date of publication. The symbols used for some of the major organs of the U.N. are as follows:
A/ General Assembly S/ Security Council E/ Economic and Social Council T/ Trusteeship Council ST/ Secretariat
Example: A/C.1 indicates a document issued by the first committee of the General Assembly.
Besides U.N. symbols, U.N. publications which are considered of interest to a wide range of readers may also carry sales numbers. These also convey information about the document - - language, subject, and date of publication. Some documents have only a sales number. Citation to a U.N. document must include both numbers, if available. A good, simple explanation of the U.N. document symbol system is given in:
United Nations Documentation: A Brief Guide, Call # JX1977.8.D6 U56 1981 (Location: 5th Floor)
III. OFFICIAL RECORDS
Official records are issued by some of the major bodies of the U.N. They include: records of meetings; annexes, which are documents considered at meetings as part of the agenda; supplements, which contain the resolutions passed at specific sessions as well as reports of subsidiary organizations to the parent body. All official records are designated as such by having "Official Records" on the title page or pther prominent place of the document. The earliest official records of the following major U.N. organs are available in the law library on microfiche:
A. General Assembly
JX1977 .A/PV Meetings 1946-1966 JX1977 .A41 Resolutions 1946-1971 JX1977 .A/Suppl Supplements 1947-1962 JX1977 .A/Annexes Annexes 1946-1966
B. Security Council
JX1977 .S Meetings 1946-1966 JX1977 .S/R Resolutions 1946-1968 JX1977 .S/ Supplements 1946-1964
C. Economic and Social Council
JX1977 .E/ Meetings 1947-1968 JX1977 .E/R Resolutions 1947-1971 JX1977 .E/Suppl Supplements 1946-1971 JX1977 .E/Annexes Annexes 1947-1972
D. Trusteeship Council
JX1977 .T/ Meetings 1947-1965
Official records later than those listed are shelved on the fifth floor.
The index for current U.N. publications is called UNDOC. It is organized into separate sections to search by author, title, and subject. Indexes for earlier publications are also available.
UNDOC, Call # JX 1977.A2 U42 S.A (Location: 5th Floor)
V. INTERNET RESOURCES A selection of more recent U.N. documents can be found at the United Nations Documents WWW Site: URL= http://www.un.org/Docs/.
VI. IMPORTANT SOURCES FOR LEGAL RESEARCH
The U.N. is the most important organization involved in international law, and issues many publications dealing with a wide array of legal matters. Some of these important sources at the law library are as follows:
A. United Nations Juridical Yearbook, Call # JX1977 .A2 (Location: 5th Floor)
This is an excellent source for all legal matters pertaining to the U.N. It includes relevant parts of judicial decisions relating to the U.N. as well as the full text of important treaties.
B. Yearbook of the International Court of Justice, Call # JX1971.6 .A25 (Location: 5th Floor)
This comes out in two volumes per year. Volume 1 consists of summary records of the Commission's meetings. Volume 2 reproduces documents issued for each session, including the annual reports submitted by the ILC to the General Assembly.
C. Yearbook of the International Law Commission, Call # JX1977 .A2 subser (Location : 5th Floor)
The ICJ is the principal judicial body of the U.N. The Yearbook gives an account of the court's work, its organization, biographies of its judges and a list of publications.
D. Reports of Judgments, Advisory Opinions, and Orders, Call # JX1971.6 .H3 (Location: 5th Floor)
This publication of the International Court of Justice is published annually and contains an analytical index.
E. Pleadings, Oral Arguments, Documents, Call # JX1971.6 .H35 (Location: 5th Floor)
This publication of the International Court of Justice contains all the documents in a case, including pleadings, evidence and speeches of counsel in their original language.
F. Yearbook of the Human Rights Committee, Call # JX1977 .A2 CCPR/ (Location: 5th Floor) Records important constitutional, legislative, and judicial developments concerning human rights throughout the world.
G. Yearbook of the United Nations Conference on International Trade Law, Call # JX1977 .A2 subser. T (Location: 5th Floor)
Contains reports on the work of sessions of UNCITRAL and a bibliography of works produced by this body. A very useful part of this publication is an updated list of countries which signed UNCITRAL conventions, for example, the Convention on the Limitation Period in the International Sale of Goods.
H. United Nations Treaty Series, Call # JX170 .U35 (Location: 5th Floor)
This huge set consists of over 1000 volumes so far, with over 30 volumes added each year. It includes all treaties registered with the U.N. by member states and also some by non-members. The treaties appear first in their official language, followed by English and French translations if needed. Unfortunately, there is a delay of several years in the publication of the series, and an even greater delay in the indexes. Therefore, it is usually necessary to search through individual volumes to find specific treaties.
I. Multinational Treaties Deposited with the Secretary-General, Call # JX1977.A2 St/Leg/ Ser.E/1 (Location: 5th Floor)
This annual publication lists treaties, as well as conventions. It gives the citations for treaties in the United Nations Treaty Series if they are already published therein, as well as pertinent information as to the status of each treaty.