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Acquisition and Organization of International Documentation

Introductory Report (Part #1)

International Symposium of the United Nations and other Intergovernmental Organizations (Geneva, August 1972). Introductory Report to Panel II [UNITAR/EUR/SEM.1/WP II/IR]. Organized by United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and the Association of International Libraries (AIL) Published in: International Federation for Documentation: sources, organization and utilization of international documentation. Den Haag, FID, pp. 112-144 (English), pp. 145-181 (French). Proceedings of the International Symposium on the Documentation of the United Nations, Geneva, 21-23 August 1972. FID publ 506. Version française
Acquisition of international documents
Organization of international documents
Relevance of information systems and networks
Summary of problems of the immediate future
Action possibilities

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The range of subjects covered by the agenda of this Panel is large. This is one reason for the length of thisreportwhich had to attempt to bring together into a common framework the issues raised by the many Working Papers. The other is the complex task of the Panel. Is it concerned with: the present or the future, the developed or the developing countries, description or prescription, minor or major recommendations? It was felt that consideration had to be given to each of these aspects to meet the requirements of the variety of interests of participants.

Acquisition and handling of intergovernmental materials is one ofthe most difficult problems in libraries, major or minor. The principal reasons are lack of adequate bibliographical control tools, complex series, distribution delays and confusion, and the volume of material produced annually. A major task of this report is therefore to attempt a descriptive panorama of the problems and possibilities from a documentalist's perspective on the whole range of intergovjernmental material, whether United Nations or other.

The descriptive exercise will be useful for some participants but possibly irrelevant for others looking for immediate practical solutions. There is, however, no magic wand to be waved although numerous possibilities for action are discussed. [Many of the points made have been made on a number of occasions since 1948 by participants at this symposium (see WP II/9). It is not ideaswhich are lacking.]

The Rapporteur would like to thank the many people in the Geneva offices of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies for their assistance and advice. Given the range of topics, many issues are undoubtedly handled inadequately here. It is hoped that all the critical points and proposals for change made here have been well founded on those in the Panel Working Papers or those in earlier United Nations reports on the documentation problem.

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