UN publications are created for difference purposes and for different audiences than UN documents. Publications are produced primarily for external use by individuals and entities outside the UN system, whereas documents are produced primarily for internal use to facilitate the work of the UN's principle organs and bodies. UN publications are also known as "sales publications," which reflects the fact that they are commercially published for sale to the general public.
Many UN publications are produced annually and may include the word yearbook in their titles. Some are published more frequently on a semi-annual or quarterly basis. Others are published irregularly or as one-off, stand-alone publications. Annual publications typically include summaries of the activities of a UN organ or agency during the designated year, or summaries of developments with respect to a particular issue or subject matter, as well as compilations of statistics and data collected by the UN pertaining to the issue or subject matter in question.
UN publications are collected by libraries throughout the world. Most libraries do so selectively, focusing only on those UN publications that are the most relevant to their users. Use the resources described below to search by title for UN publications held by libraries at Georgetown University, by libraries at other academic institutions in the Washington, D.C. area, and by libraries throughout the world.
Use the links provided below to quickly access some of the most frequently consulted and cited UN publications:
If you are not seeking a known UN publication, but you suspect that there may be UN publications that are relevant to the topic you are researching, visit the website of the UN Publications Office, where you can view and download the most recent Catalog of UN Publications. To search for publications by keyword, use the search box in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. You can also browse for publications by subject and by series title.
While there may be a few UN publications that are freely available for download in PDF format, the vast majority of publications are only available for purchase. If you locate a sales publication that interests you, use the Law Library's Advanced Search interface to see if it is available at the Georgetown Law Library. To search more broadly across the holdings of all Georgetown University libraries and other nearby academic libraries, select Georgetown Univ. + Local Academic Libraries as the search scope.
If the publication that interests you is not available at any academic library in the DC area, use WorldCat to broaden your search to the holdings of leading libraries throughout the world. Select title or title phrase as the search field from the menu to the right of the search box. If you know the publication's ISBN number, you can search for that instead of the title. If your search retrieves a record for the publication you are seeking, you may request the item through inter-library loan.