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UN Office for Disarmament Affairs Launches Disarmament Digital Documents Library

“The Disarmament Digital Documents Library is a specialised archive that provides quick and easy access to an extensive collection of United Nations disarmament-related documents in one convenient location. It includes historical documents of the first General Assembly session and reports from the Special Sessions on Disarmament (SSOD-I, SSOD-II and SSOD-III), disarmament-related meetings and conferences, and treaty review declarations.  The team who brought this about, was made up of staff and interns and included extensive cooperation between UNODA and OICT. The work involved analysing and exporting data from Lotus Notes and creating a new database structure on UNODA’s website. Many of the documents are linked to UN Optical Disk System (UNODS) while some of the rarer documents are hosted on UNODA’s cloud. The work to digitize these documents started in 2009 when the UNODA Library, in its physical form, was reduced by 80 per cent in preparation for UN Headquarters’ major renovation. To preserve the historical collection for future researchers, a dedicated team of UNODA staff members headed by Bertha Ortiz devoted extensive time to digitize over 12,000 documents that were not available in the UN Official Document System (ODS) . Ms. Ortiz said, “The process of archiving these documents was a learning experience. It was very engaging to go through records that covered important moments in history. It brought me back in time. “ Hosted on UNODA’s website, documents are categorised by the activity (e.g. General Assembly, Groups of Governmental Experts, treaty review conferences, etc.) and its session or meeting. In each category, documents are formatted into a sortable table by symbol and title. Documents archived in the UNDOCS system are available in all official languages while older documents are available in English only. UNODA Political Affairs Officer Katherine Prizeman, a frequent user of the database, said “The Disarmament Reference Library is a critical tool in my work from researching the evolution of resolutions and mandates to locating a specific report of the Secretary-General. This library covers the wide range of disarmament-related resources in a systematic and logical way. To have all disarmament-related documents in one convenient place makes for much more efficient work.”

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