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COMS 336: Rhetoric of Law


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Universal Declaration of Human Rights The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a milestone document in the history of human rights. Drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, the Declaration was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948 (General Assembly resolution 217 A) as a common standard of achievements for all peoples and all nations.

United Nations Treaty Collection Full text, with exact page images, of "over 50,000 bilateral and multilateral treaties and subsequent treaty actions." Also includes Status of Multilateral Treaties Deposited with the Secretary General. [Access is free. If you are asked for a username and password, use the generic username "treaties" and the generic password "12345"] 

AccessUN (1945 to present) citations to United Nations documents (Official Records, masthead documents, draft resolutions, meeting records, UN Sales Publications, and the UN Treaty Series citations). Also has selected U.N. Documents in full text. [No remote access.]

UN Documents Website

Official Documents System (ODS) An online database of UN documents containing full-text, born-digital UN documents published from 1993 onward.The database also includes scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993.

The Yearbook of the United Nations The authoritative reference work on the activities and concerns of the UN. Based on official UN documents, the Yearbook provides comprehensive coverage of political and security matters, human rights issues, economic and social questions, legal issues, and institutional, administrative and budgetary matters.

Index to Proceedings An annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major organs. The Indexes are prepared by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library and are produced at the end of the session/year.

UN Documentation Research Guide Provides a quick overview and easy access to fulltext of resolutions from the General Assembly, Security Council, and Economic and Social Council

Dag Hammarskjöld Library Provides research and information to support the work of United Nations Member States. As an integral part of the UN Organization, the Library also aids in the dissemination of UN information to a wider public audience through online services, and a global depository library network.

Which UN Database should I use?

Follow these research tips provided by UN Library Staff.

Choose United Nations Digital Library to:

  • search by topic
  • search on metadata (information about the document)
    • title
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    • subject
    • UN body name
  • search for a certain type of UN document, even if there is no distinctive symbol pattern
    • resolutions
    • meeting records
    • annual/sessional reports
    • reports of the Secretary-General

Choose ODS to:

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  • search on the full-text of documents
  • search for documents that cite previous documents

Choose the UN Yearbook to: 

  • start historic research
  • find document symbols
  • find additional information about a document and the context in which it was considered

Choose the Index to Proceedings to:

  • find all documents related to an agenda item in a given year or session
  • find the meeting number and symbol for a meeting held on a certain date
  • find statements prior to 1983

This information was excerpted from a guide created by UN Library Staff. Thank you, UN Library!

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