The United Nations’ archives cover four broad areas: the Secretaries-General, Secretariat Departments, Peacekeeping Missions, and Predecessor Organizations. The archives are arranged into Series which fall under larger archival groups (or “Fonds”) that are derived from the particular office or agency that created them. The creating agency can be a United Nations department, mission, panel or body, Secretary-General, or other United Nations functional unit. You can do a keyword search (above), or click the links below to browse through the Fonds and Series. Some of our records are digitized, and if so, these items can be viewed online and/or downloaded.
Whether you are a writer or graduate student, genealogist or historian, successful use of archives depends on a carefully planned research strategy. The strategy should allow adequate time for background research, establishing which collections hold relevant archives, and include a work schedule which takes into account the extent of the material to be consulted.
The Archives and Records Management Section (ARMS) identifies, preserves and provides access to those records that document the history of the United Nations. ARMS is responsible for all aspects of UN recordkeeping, ranging from measures to ensure that United Nations officials create records in the course of their duties, through the management of records in United Nations offices, to preserving and making records of continuing value accessible as United Nations archives.
Most records are created as a result of United Nations business and have a finite value. They can be destroyed when this value has passed. A small percentage of the records is preserved as United Nations archives because they are of enduring value to the United Nations and/or to the public.