Das institutionelle Gedächtnis der UNO im Internet: United Nations Digital Library (UNDL)

Nahezu eine Million digitale bzw. digitalisierte Dokumente aus der Arbeit der UNO und ihrer Unterorganisationen


können seit dem 18. Mai 2017


in einer Online-Datenbank recherchiert und in den meisten Fällen direkt eingesehen werden.

In einer Mitteilung der Dag Hammarskjöld Library, die das Projekt gemeinsam mit der United Nations Office at Geneva Library durchführt, über die jüngste Ergänzung wird bislang enthaltene Serien hingewiesen, darunter

  • kommentierte Tagesordnungen der UN-Generalversammlungen (1946-1971);
  • Berichte der Kommission über die Rechtsstellung der Frau (1947-1992);
  • Dokumente der Konferenz von San Franzisko – United Nations Conference on International Organization (1945), die die Charta der Vereinten Nationen erarbeitete;
  • Verwaltungsrat-Berichte der UNICEF (1946-1993) sowie der UNDP (1966-1993);
  • die Statistischen Jahrbücher 1948-2017 und – jüngst hinzugefügt –
  • die Secretary General’s Bulletins inkl. UN staff rules (1940er bis 1960er Jahre), darunter SGB/63, das die “Functions of United Nations Archives” beschreibt.


An Dokumentarten seien erwähnt:

  • 1 870 Karten (erschienen 1947-2018);
  • 196 Bilder, Video- und Audiofiles;
  • 20 576 Abstimmungsergebnisse (Abstimmungsverhalten der Mitgliedstaaten, 24.01.1946-30.07.2018);
  • 287 889 Reden (1946-05.06.2018).

Einige wenige Dokumente (22 bis 1944, 50 im Jahr 1945 erschienen) datieren aus der Vorgeschichte der UNO.

“By digitizing these manuscripts and putting them online, we are saying these manuscripts belong to everybody”


„A team of a dozen experts at Penn Libraries has been working on BiblioPhilly, in the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts, and the Schoenberg Center for Electronic Text and Image (SCETI). Manuscripts are received at SCETI, then locked up in a secure location until going through the digitization process.

The July shipment, including Lewis E 160, was the last from the Free Library, which contributed 250 manuscripts, most from the collection of John Frederick Lewis. The Free Library included the largest number of texts of the 15 institutions, all members of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL), which applied for and received the grant for the project.“

Google Docs spreadsheet


Database of 620,000 First World War personnel files completed to mark anniversary of Canada’s 100 Days


„It took five years of work, encompassing over 30 million digitized images and 540 terabytes of data, but we now have a complete list of more than 620,000 files accessible online! Explore the personnel records of the First World War Database—you’ll be amazed at what you discover. […]

The First World War Database was the first time LAC had undertaken a digitization project of such magnitude, requiring so many resources, both technological and human.“

The Delicate Art of Dealing With Your Archivist


„In my roughly three decades of experience working in archives, I think it is fair to say we can break archivists down by this basic taxonomy:

The mensch: This is the archivist we all desire, the researcher’s dream — the person who knows the collection’s material well enough to truly help you, and trusts you enough to let you lead. […]

The snob: The snob is the polar opposite of the mensch. This is the archivist who is determined to make you feel like a troglodyte unworthy of visiting „his“ archive. […]

The distractor: By nature, the distractor is a bubbly extrovert. Much as she might love your project, what she’s really here for is your company until she gets back home to her five cats. […]

The mooch: The mooch is a special blend of snob and distractor. This is the archivist intent on turning you into his „researcher with benefits.“ […]

The heiress: The heiress would be perfectly happy if nobody ever came. […]

The bureaucrat: While often perfectly efficient with your requests for the next box in the series, this fellow is not worth trying to excite with a thrilling find.“

Rare medieval bible returned to shelf at Canterbury Cathedral


The Lyghfield bible – named for a monk at the cathedral who once owned it – is the only complete bible and the finest illuminated book known to have survived from the medieval collection. The cathedral won a grant of almost £96,000 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (NHMF) and raised £4,000 more to buy it at a recent rare books sale in London.

The library of some 30,000 volumes was once one of the greatest treasures of the cathedral, but when the monastic community was broken up by Henry VIII in the 16th century the books were scattered.


„Chat reference service is wonderful“

I asked Jaclyn Savolainen, a librarian of a Community College in New York State, some questions on chat reference using the the 24/7 chat service Ask Us. Some quotes from our short conversation (which continued via mail):

„We are in New York and there are many libraries throughout the U.S. that use AskUs 24/7. AskUs 24/7 is connected to a service called QuestionPoint and it is run by an organization called OCLC, which is a global library cooperative.“

„Any reference question can be appropriate for a chat. It’s a matter of how we walk people through the steps to find their answers.“

„Often people need help coming up with a search strategy. For example, they have a research topic but they don’t know what words to use to search. Someone might want to do research on a topic having to do with some aspect of poverty in a particular region and they try to search their library databases the way they would search in Google, but library databases don’t search the same as Google. So they really need to come up with a few keywords to search instead of typing a full question into their library search box. Then we can show the patron how to use the database filters and limiters to narrow down their search to the information best suited to their needs.

Recently I had a patron who was looking for primary sources related to a U.S. law passed in 1974, and I was able to help them navigate the government archives public website as well as their library databases. I helped provide some context for the information they needed (including the names of relevant amendments to the law) and the patron was really appreciative. Another recent question had to do with finding research on employers promoting employees from within their organization who do not have a college education. It turned out that the search terms that were most useful were “academic degrees” and “success in business”, and I also gave the patron a brief lesson in how to make use of Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) to build a more complex search.

Sometimes the biggest challenge is figuring out exactly what the patron is really looking for, and it can take quite a few questions to clarify their needs. I enjoy that process and it is especially rewarding when a patron tells me I’ve been really helpful.“

„I would say the core benefit is having an expert researcher (the librarian) walk through a search with you even if you can’t make it into a library in person. We can help patrons learn how to use their library services from across the country or even across the globe.“

„The questions really vary. Sometimes it’s an easy question like whether a book is available or how do you reserve a study room. Sometimes it’s a question that will take 40 minutes of back and forth. And if there is a question that requires a response from a local librarian, we can pass that back to the library to follow up with the patron. That happens a lot. If someone has a question about a fine they owe, or a book they ordered that hasn’t arrived, for example.“

Anglo-Saxon charters online

„In anticipation of the British Library’s major Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms exhibition, which opens on 19 October, we are delighted to have added the vast majority of our Anglo-Saxon single-sheet charters to our Digitised Manuscripts site. A full list of the 203 charters currently available can be downloaded here; we plan to add the remaining 8 charters in due course.“


Time Team

„Time Team was a British television series that originally aired on Channel 4 from 16 January 1994 to 7 September 2014. Created by television producer Tim Taylor and presented by actor Tony Robinson, each episode featured a team of specialists carrying out an archaeological dig over a period of three days, with Robinson explaining the process in lay terms.“




Happy International Archives Day!



Preserving Iraq’s Heritage


„Babylon is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world. One of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World and famous for its Hanging Gardens, Babylon is also home to Ishtar Gate and the Lion of Babylon, a national icon. It’s a site in Iraq that we, at the World Monuments Fund, have been conserving for more than a decade. And now, you can explore it, too.

Today, World Monuments Fund has joined forces with Google Arts & Culture to bring you Preserving Iraq’s Heritage, an online exhibit showcasing the unique stories of Iraq’s endangered heritage sites and the extraordinary efforts to preserve them. „

Habermas on blogs

„Internet has already opened up millions of useful niches of subcultures where trustworthy information and sound opinions are being exchanged. – not just the scientific blogs whose academic work is amplified by this means, but also, for example, [forums] for patients who suffer a rare disease and can now get in touch with others in the same situation on another continent to share advice and experience. There are undoubtedly great communication benefits and not just for increasing the speed of stock trading and speculation.“


Negative effect of paywalls on science


In 1942, the US Book Republication Program permitted American publishers to reprint „exact reproductions“ of Germany’s scientific texts without payment; seventy-five years later, the fate of this scientific knowledge forms the basis of a „natural experiment“ analysed by Barbara Biasi and Petra Moser for The Center for Economic and Policy Research, who compare the fate of these texts to their contemporaries who didn’t have this semi-public-domain existence.

Here’s the headline finding: „This artificial removal of copyright barriers led to a 25% decline in prices, and a 67% increase in citations. These results suggest that restrictive copyright policies slow down the progress of science considerably.“

Ireland Illustrated, 1680-1860


„Ireland Illustrated, 1680-1860, is a database of over 500 images of Ireland, with accompanying text, drawn from more than 50 manuscript and printed works, and highlighting several neglected or rarely accessible sources.“


The Munch Museum in Oslo publishes more than 7,600 drawings online for free


„The Munch Museum in Oslo has published more than 7,600 of the artist’s drawings online, making them free to access for any purpose—even merchandising. The three-year project to digitise the works, billed as a digital catalogue raisonné, responds to a wider call for museums to waive image fees for works in their collections that are out of copyright.“


Reconstruction of the Gottschalk Antiphonal

Lisa Fagin Davis: „I am very pleased to debut my Fragmentarium reconstruction of the Gottschalk Antiphonal, the manuscript that was the subject of my dissertation and first book:


The Gottschalk Antiphonal was written and illustrated in the late twelfth century by the scribe/artist/monk Gottschalk of Lambach and was used at the Lambach abbey for several centuries. Along with many other early manuscripts, It was broken for binding scrap in the late fifteenth century, and its leaves were used as flyleaves, pastedowns, and spine-liners for books found at the Abbey bindery. During World War II, many of the leaves were removed from the bindings and sold as a way to raise money for a new wood lathe for the abbey. The leaves are now scattered and have been identified at the Houghton Library at Harvard University, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale, the St. Louis Public Library, a hotel in Badgastein (Austria), the abbey of St. Paul im Lavanttal, and in Lambach itself (although the leaves that were bound into incunables there as late as 1998 have now vanished and are represented in my reconstruction by my old black-and-white photographs).

As recently as 2016, an offset of a leaf of the Antiphonal was found in an incunable belonging to the Beinecke Library (ironically, it was there while I was working on my thesis at Yale, but it was only during a recent survey of the bindings by Elizabeth Hebbard (Indiana Univ.) that the offset was photographed and identified). The missing leaf was consecutive with one of the leaves at Harvard, and I have added a manipulated image of the offset to my Fragmentarium reconstruction.

For those of you who care about such things, it is worth noting that images of the two leaves at Harvard have been imported directly into Fragmentarium using a persistent IIIF url. The other images were uploaded as individual JPGs.

When I first studied the manuscript in the early 1990s, I did it with scissors and paste and black-and-white photocopies on the floor of my living room. It is truly thrilling to see it in glorious IIIF-compliant interoperable color in Fragmentarium! I hope that it will complement the liturgical, art historical, and musicological study in my book: http://www.cambridge.org/us/academic/subjects/music/nineteenth-century-music/gottschalk-antiphonary-music-and-liturgy-twelfth-century-lambach

Blogpost coming soon…“ (EXLIBRIS-L)

2018, May 22: Link of blogpost added.