Skip to main content

United Nations Documentation: United Nations Overview

A guide to finding United Nations print and online documentation

Quick Links and UN docs

The UN in Brief

United Nations Official Document System

UN-I-QUE - Ready reference file for UN document symbols/sales numbers

United Nations Documentation: Research Guide - from the Dag Hammarskjold Library

 60 Ways the UN Makes a Difference

Conflict Barometer 2008 - published annually by the Heidelberg Institute for International Conflict Research at the Department of Political Science, University of Heidelberg

HOMER - a search in HOMER, the USC Libraries online catalog, will be helpful in locating print documents.


United Nations Overview and Links to Resources

A brief outline of the United Nations structure

Originally composed of 51 countries committed to preserving peace, the United Nations was founded by Charter on 24 October 1945.  Today, membership includes nearly every nation in the world, 192 countries.  The United Nations is not a world government and does not make laws.  The stated purposes of the United Nations are:  To maintain international peace and security; to develop friendly relations among nations; to cooperate in solving international, economic, social, cultural, and humanitarian problems and in promoting respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms; and to be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations.  The United Nations family of organizations provide technical assistance and help in mostly all economic and social areas. 


Main Bodies of the United Nations

The General Assembly -- the chief policymaking organ; plays a significant role in codification of international law

The Security Council -- responsible for maintaining international peace and security

The Economic and Social Council -- the central forum for discussing international economic and social issues; formulates policy recommendations

The Trusteeship Council -- having fulfilled its original purpose, has suspended operations

The International Court of Justice -- principal judicial organization of the United Nations

The Secretariat -- carries out diverse daily work of the United Nations.  Headed by the Secretary General

Subject Guide

Eimmy Solis's picture
Eimmy Solis
VKC Library

Contact Us

Katharin Peter
Data Services Librarian
213 740-1700
Robert Labaree
Social Sciences Librarian
213 740-5824
Pat Davis
213 740-5192


Use this link to find full text articles online: