University of Hawaii at Manoa Library


Government Documents Collection, United Nations and UN Specialized Agencies Collection


Two major separate collections, each with its own classification system, are housed within the Government Documents Collection. They comprise materials from: 1) United States Government agencies and 2) United Nations and its affiliated agencies.

The Collection supports undergraduate and graduate coursework and research in all academic fields, with particular strengths in the fields of agriculture, agricultural economics, military science, natural science and marine biology, urban planning, transportation administration, astronomy, education, medicine and public health, history and political science, and statistics. United States statute and administrative laws and decisions and rules of the U.S. regulatory agencies are also strong. Documents are acquired through official deposit, purchase, or gift.

The Collection is heavily used by University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) graduate and undergraduate students, Mānoa campus faculty and researchers, East-West Center researchers and staff, the general public, Hawaiʻi state government agencies, local federal agency offices, off-campus libraries and researchers, business and legal firms, and students at all academic levels. The department strives to ensure free public access to these documents and their continued availability according to the guidelines set by the issuing bodies.


Materials acquired from the United Nations and its affiliated agencies are largely official deposits, with some exceptions, as noted. The United Nations deposit began around 1950. Holdings include the official records of the main organs of the United Nations, masthead documents (formerly "mimeographed documents"), sales number publications, periodicals, and documents in English from the major United Nations agencies located in New York, Geneva, and Vienna. However, there are many limitations and exceptions to this deposit. See About Deposit on the UN web site:

Publications from United Nations specialized agencies are also part of the Collection and are described in a separate section below.

The flash flood of October 30, 2004 destroyed up to 95 percent of the holdings in the collection. Efforts to replace the lost materials included the purchase of the Readex United Nations Documents in microfiche (1944-2004) that contains all the official documents of the main UN bodies. Replacement of other UN publications in various formats including hardcopy, microfiche, CD_ROMs, and online sources is an ongoing activity. Beginning in 2005, the Collection substituted the free online UN Official Documents System (ODS) for the paper mastheads and official records. The online United Nations Treaty Collection (UNTC) also provides the electronic version of the Nations Treaty Series (UNTS).

The five regional commissions under the Economic and Social Council provide a limited number of publications and documents to all depository libraries. The five commissions include: Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The exception is the ECE because the United States government is a member of the commission and as a result, this library receives full documentation. In addition to four titles automatically sent by ESCAP, the Collection has arranged to acquire additional materials from that regional commission headquarters in Bangkok, Thailand, for the cost of postage.

Publications of subsidiary United Nations agencies that report to the General Assembly but are generally not part of the United Nations depository system are acquired via purchase or direct request. These agencies include the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), the United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD), the United Nations Institute for Disarmament (UNIDIR), the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD), the United Nations University (UNU), and the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA).

United Nations agency publications "published for" or "on behalf of" by trade and university presses are acquired on the library's gathering plans.

United Nations Specialized Agencies

The independently structured intergovernmental organizations (IGO's) affiliated with the United Nations and their methods of acquisition are noted below. Unless otherwise indicated, the collecting and housing unit is the Government Documents Collection.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Between 1977 and 1995, the Collection subscribed to microfiche to the entries indexed in FAO Documentation, the official bibliography of FAO publications and documents. The subscription was cancelled during 1995 library-wide serials cancellation project. Since 1979, major publications have been received in paper on subscription via Bernan (formerly UNIPUB) subscription agency.

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Standing orders to its proceedings have been cancelled in 1992 due to budget cuts.

International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) The IBRD (also known as the World Bank) does not have depository libraries in the United States. All documents are acquired by purchase or direct request. Those IBRD imprints published by the Johns Hopkins University Press or Oxford University Press are acquired by the library's gathering plan. The collection seeks to maintain a complete collection of IBRD publications.

International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) The ICAO Bulletin, the official periodical, and a number of statistical series have been provided without charge since 1980. Selected titles are acquired through purchase as needed.

International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), Multinational Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) are part of the World Bank group and their publications are also acquired by purchase, direct request, or via the gathering plan.

International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) IFAD publications are not deposited, but are generally free, on request.

International Labour Organization (ILO) The collection is not a depository for ILO publications from Geneva, but they have been acquired selectively over the years for the general collection through purchase. Beginning in late 1989, the Collection has been responsible for the selection, funding, and housing of these materials; some of the backfile holdings were reclassified and transferred to the collection; others have remained in the Library of Congress classification. ILO publications from Islamabad and Manila have been acquired directly and housed in the collection since the mid-1980's.

International Maritime Organization (IMO) IMO publications are infrequent. They are acquired on purchase.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) IMF publications are acquired via subscription directly from the agency.

International Telecommunications Union (ITU) ITU publications and documents are not received on deposit. Selective purchase of development plans, directories, and other non-technical documents are made either directly or through a subscription service.

United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) UNESCO publications have been deposited in the Collection since the early 1950's through 1993. The United States withdrew its membership from UNESCO in 1993 and one of consequences of the withdrawal was the end of depositories for the United States. Selected titles are acquired through purchase.

World Health Organization (WHO) WHO publications from Geneva have been deposited in the collection since the early 1950's. This arrangement ended in 2002 when free distribution was terminated to depositories in developed countries. Starting in 2005, the Science and Technology Department of the Library agreed to acquire and house WHO publications as needed. Government Documents retains the depository backfile.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) WIPO publications are published infrequently. Non-serial titles are purchased selectively. WIPO serials are expensive and it was decided around 1980 not to acquire them. N. World Meteorological Organization (WMO). WMO documents are acquired and housed by the Science and Technology Department.

World Trade Organization (WTO) (formerly General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) With the termination of the depository arrangements for libraries in developed countries in the early 2000's, the Collection acquires selected WTO titles.


There is no other United Nations collection available within the state of Hawaiʻi. The William S. Richardson School of Law Library purchased a collection of United Nations International Court of Justice (ICJ) materials; ICJ documents are not deposited, except at the national supreme court levels.

All incoming receipts are examined by the documents librarians. Materials covering Oceania are routed to the Pacific Collection librarians for current awareness; selected items are acquired by and housed in the collection.

The 1984 policy against duplication of government documents in other collections included United Nations materials.


Microfilms are not collected. Trade or university press publications "sponsored by" and agency are not added to the collection unless there is a statement that the title is "published for" or "on behalf of" the agency.

Compiled by: Mabel Suzuki
Date: July 2008

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