How to use the UN Archives Geneva platform

Watch our tutorial: Introduction to the UN Archives Geneva Platform.


Archives Hierarchy

The “Archives Hierarchy” option in the blue box on the left allows you to navigate the hierarchical or tree-view of the UN Archives Geneva fonds and collections.

Click the “Archives Hierarchy” button to access the tree-view option:

Click on the name of a fond or collection to navigate down the collection.


The options listed below “Archives Hierarchy” in the blue box on the left allows you to discover our collections by categories: League of Nations Archives, UN Geneva Archives, Private Archives, International Peace Movement, and Additional Collections.

Clicking on an archival category provides further information about the category:

The simple search allows users to search for files and documents by description (e.g., title, scope and content, creator, etc.) and in full text mode of digitized documents.

The simple search is most effective in English because it’s the language used for the majority of our descriptions. However, titles appear in their original languages (e.g., French, German…), and search can be performed in other languages since the full text of documents is also searchable.

To do a single keyword search, simply type your keyword into the search box.

Any matching answer will appear below the search box, organized by Archival Description, Authority Record, Subject, and/or Place. Click on any of the results or on the magnifying glass to run the search.

The search below will retrieve all records containing the term “Einstein” in the description or in the full text of digitized documents:

You can use the keyword search to search for a reference code (symbol). The search below will find the file with the reference code S49/49/22:

Phrase Search

To search for a phrase from the simple search, put your phrase in quotation marks. This will ensure the correct wording of results.

The search below will return all records that contain the phrase “French mandates” in the description or in the full text of the document:


Truncation works to capture variations of a word ending. An asterisk must be added in order to use that search option.

For instance, a search for Ocean*, retrieves results with the word Ocean, but also the words Oceans, Oceanic, or Oceania, Oceanography...

An asterisk also can be used in the middle of a word as a wildcard to pick up spelling variations. For instance, a search for “ ”wom*n” picks up both “woman” and “women”.

Boolean Search

Boolean operators (AND, OR, AND NOT) allow you to do a more sophisticated search within the simple search box. Please note: Boolean operators must be capitalized.


The default search logic combines words using AND. As such, if you want two words to both appear within a record, the Boolean operator AND is not needed.

In the example below, both Committee and Arts MUST appear in the results, but they do not need to appear exactly in that order as a phrase. If only one word is in the record, it will not be retrieved in your search.


If you would like at least one word to appear but you do not care which word, use OR. You might use this if you are looking for terms that are related.

In the example below, either Arts or Letters would appear in the record, but the record does not necessarily have both terms.


Using the NOT Boolean eliminates certain records from the results.

For instance, the example below retrieves results related to an Ocean but excludes results that mention the Atlantic Ocean.

Combination of Searches

One search may combine a number of these search functionalities together.

Below is an example of looking for all results concerning a specific concept: Ocean, Oceans, Oceanic, Oceania, or Sea, Seas, Seaworthy, etc.

When you are in a specific level of the hierarchy, use the Quick search box on the left to search within that specific level.
Type your keyword into the Quick search box. Click on the magnifying glass to run the search.

The Advanced search provides easy access to all available search options.

On the Home Page, click on the wheel to see the Advanced search.

Enter search terms, then use the drop-down menus to select the search fields. You may also select a Boolean operator (AND, OR, NOT) from the drop-down list titled “Add new criteria” if you would like to combine search terms.

The Advanced search can limit the results to a top-level description:

The Advanced search allows for the filtering of results by level of description, digital object available, and date range.

List of Results


Faceting allows you to narrow your search results by applying multiple filters.

Once you have performed your initial search, you can narrow the results using facets (i.e., Language, Part of, Creator, Name, Place, Subject, Level of description, Media type) from the left side of the results page. The facets are dynamically generated based on the search performed.

You may choose one or several facets by clicking on a value.


Sorting options are available from the results page.

Click on the arrow of the “Sort by …” box to sort by date modified, title, relevance, identifier, reference code, start date or end date.

By default, results are ordered by relevancy in descending order.

Results Display

You can choose to display the list of results by card view or table view using the buttons above the list of results:

Results with Digital Objects

You can visualize the results with digital objects (i.e., digitized documents) by clicking on the “Show results with digital objects” button above the list of results:

A filter tag (reading “With digital objects”) is included for context:

You can click the X on the filter tag to remove it and return to all results.

The carousel shows sets of thumbnails of digital objects associated with archival descriptions. It appears at the top of archival descriptions whenever there are associated lower-level descriptions that have digital objects attached:

Delimited Search through the Carousel

The delimited search through the carousel allows users to search for files and documents by description (e.g., title, scope and content, creator, etc.) and in full text mode of digitized documents in a specific level (fonds, collections, sub-fonds, series, sub-series...) with contains more than 10 digital objects.

When you are in a level of description with more than 10 digital objects attached, click on the “Show all” button of the carousel:

You arrive on a tile-based browse page with two filter tags: “With digital objects” and the title of the level (here "Administrative Commissions and Minorities Section" Sub-Fonds of the League of Nations Secretariat):

Click on “Advanced Search Options”:

Type your term of research in the appropriate field (see Advanced Search). Click on Search:

The search above will retrieve all records containing the term “Sweeter” in the description or in the full text of digitized documents of the "Administrative Commissions and Minorities Section" Sub-Fonds of the League of Nations Secretariat:


The Clipboard allows for the selection of records while searching and browsing, and adds them to a list (i.e., the “clipboard”), for later review or further action.

In a list of results or in an archival description, click on the paperclip icon, and the result will be added to the Clipboard:

The clipboard is session-based, meaning that adding results to the clipboard and then closing your browser without first saving will result in all pinned items being lost.

To save a clipboard, click on the Clipboard icon in the header bar, and select “Save clipboard” from the drop-down menu.

A unique ID number is generated, which can be used to load the clipboard in the future. Be sure to save this number, as you won’t be able to reload your clipboard without it. The clipboard will be saved up to 6 months.

To reload the clipboard results in another session, click on the Clipboard icon in the header bar and select “Load clipboard” from the drop-down menu.

Write the ID number in the Clipboard ID field, select the appropriate Action, and click the Load button.

To visualize the clipboard results, click on the Clipboard icon in the header bar and select “Go to clipboard” from the drop-down menu.

Document Downloading

The archive documents that are available as digital objects are downloadable in a high-resolution PDF format after agreeing the Copyright Notice:

The United Nations provides access to digitized material in this platform for non-commercial, personal, or research use only. When citing, authors should credit United Nations Archives at Geneva.
The United Nations holds the copyright for all archival materials produced by the organization and by the League of Nations. However, the United Nations generally does not own rights to secondary or external materials in its collections and cannot give or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute these materials. It is the patron’s obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the Archives’ collections.