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Find UN Documents: UN Document Symbols

UN Document Symbols

UN document symbols are crucial finding aids, and can also provide valuable information regarding the substance and context of a document.  The UN provides an overview of document symbols on its library page, and has also published a lengthy list of document symbols used through 1996.  Below are examples of document symbols for certain UN resolutions.  If you are searching for a particular document and already know its document symbol, you can often, for digitized documents, find the document on the web by searching for it by symbol in a search engine, or by entering the following URL in your browser, followed by the document symbol:  

See, below, examples of symbol format for two types of UN documents: resolutions of the Security Council and of the General Assembly.

Security Council Resolutions

Document Symbol Structure:  S/RES/<sequential number of resolution> (year of adoption)

Eg.          S/RES/1440 (2002)


General Assembly Resolutions

Depending on the date of the resolution there are different formats.

Up to the end of the 30th Session

Document Symbol Structure: A/RES/<sequential number of resolution> (number of the General Assembly session in capitalized roman numerals)

Eg.          A/RES/491 (V)

After the 31st session in September of 1976

Document Symbol Structure: A/RES/<number of the General Assembly session in arabic numerals>/<serial number of the resolution for that session>

Eg.          A/RES/64/293.

Special sessions and emergency sessions have different symbols.