© United Nations

Searching UN documentation by subject may cause some difficuly, since almost every topic of international significance can be linked to some part of the work of the UN. Many United Nations bodies deal with various aspects of the same problem under various subject headings and agenda items. Therefore, it is necessary for the researcher to clarify his subject in his mind and decide what type of information he is interested in. 

There is a traditional division of five main subject areas within the UN organization:

These main subject areas provide access to a number of UN bodies working within relevant fields.


The following handbooks provides a good overview of the main subject areas of the United Nations:

Databases and Indexes

  • A web portal to a number of subject areas with links to full text documents and reports is posted at the United Nations website: Global Issues Overview.
  • The UN Library online catalogue UNBISnet contains reports, documents and articles related to UN activities with links to full texts for recent years. Subject search can be performed using relevant terms fro the UNBIS THESAURUS.

Printed Indexes

References to all documents by subject area are published in subject index of the United Nations Documents Index. A complete collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.

Copyright © 2014 | Dag Hammarskjöld Library | Latest update: 30/12/2016