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New Yearbook of the United Nations Launched


Would you like to see a picture of each UN employee? Well, there is this Yearbook of the United Nations but—and I'm sorry to disappoint you here—it is not fashioned after your high school yearbook. What did you say? Too bad?  For as much as it would be interesting to see all these pictures (if only to supplement Humans of New York project which has recently featured the president and CEO of the NYPL Tony Marx) the publication in question is a different type of yearbook.

The Yearbook of the United Nations—published by the Department of Public Information and available at the NYPL—stands as the authoritative reference work on the activities and concerns of the organization. Based on official UN documents, the Yearbook provides comprehensive coverage of political and security matters, human rights issues, economic and social questions, legal issues, and institutional, administrative and budgetary matters. Each of the sixty-four volumes of the Yearbook, dating back to the 1946–47 edition, includes the texts of all major General Assembly, Security Council and Economic and Social Council resolutions and decisions, and places them in a narrative context of UN consideration, deliberation and action.

While the Yearbook is regularly published only in English, the 1946–47 Yearbook was translated into French (Annuaire des Nations Unies, Paris 1948). That one remains the only fully translated edition. The recently inaugurated online-only Yearbook Express, however, provides chapter introductions in all six UN official languages, beginning with more recent Yearbooks. Beyond its original print format, the Yearbook of the United Nations—of which an increasing number of editions are also available as ebooks—can be found on Twitter, where @UNYearbook provides a unique historical perspective on current UN issues by linking these to their background in related published Yearbook coverage. Perhaps the most exciting development in the world of this Yearbook has been the creation of a website where all issues are available and fully keyword-searchable.

The latest edition of the Yearbook of the United Nations, for 2010 was published in December 2014 and was officially launched at UN headquarters in New York on December 15. Why does it take four years to prepare this yearbook? In addition to its size (1,500+ pages) one should also remember that for many UN documents it takes two years to be released. 

Finn Summerell opens the event
Bogdan Horbal delivers his remarks

The event, which took place at the Woodrow Wilson reading room on the second floor of Dag Hammarskjöld Library, was led by Finn Summerell, an accomplished scholar and Chief of the Yearbook Unit in the Publications and Editorial Section, Outreach Division, United Nations Department of Public Information. During the event the Managing Editor of the Yearbook, Edoardo Bellando presented Yearbook editorial and production highlights. His presentation was followed by the Graphic Designer, Mackenzie Crone, who spoke about creating the Yearbook's dust jacket design. The Art Deco-inspired cover celebrates the establishment of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. E. Dana Neacşu who is a Reference Librarian and Lecturer-in-Law at the Arthur W. Diamond Law Library of Columbia Law School spoke about the Yeabook as an authoritative source of information on the activities of the United Nations. Bogdan Horbal, Head of Technical Processing at NYPL's Science, Industry and Business Library (which also serves as a depository library of UN publications) spoke about the history of the acquisition of the Yearbook by the NYPL and about its evolution to include online/e-book versions. Participating in the event was also Peter Bengston, International Trade Specialist at SIBL. Final remarks were offered by Maher Nasser, Acting Head of Department of Public Information who also officially launched the new Yearbook.

Yearbook Unit staff and interns and other UN colleagues


Also launched at the event was the UN Calendar of Observances which was described by the Yearbook Associate Editor, Natalie Alexander. This free app for iOS and Android devices features official United Nations observances and links to related videos and further information. It also illustrates how the UN makes a difference in tackling global challenges. The UN Calendar can store UN observances in the native phone calendar, or it can be used independently. The app functions in all six United Nations official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish, as well as Bahasa Indonesia and Kazakh. Simply change the language settings on your device to access the app in your language!

On hand was also the 2014 edition of the Basic Facts about the United Nations. Published regularly since 1947, this comprehensive handbook designed for the general public sets forth the structure of the United Nations, how the Organization works, the main issues it deals with and its importance for people everywhere. Along with explaining the role played by its principal organs and the family of UN organizations, individual chapters explore UN contributions to international peace and security, economic and social development, human rights; humanitarian action, international law; and decolonization. A series of appendices documents UN membership, peacekeeping operations, budget, and contact information for UN information centers, services and offices. 


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