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EU, UN and US collections

Find out about our European Union, United Nations and United States official publication collections.


LSE has extensive print collections of European Union, United Nations and United States official publications, based on depository agreements signed with each country or organisation. These collections are held at only a few UK national and university libraries and are an excellent set of primary research material for students, staff, researchers and visitors.

Visitors to this page may also wish to consult relevant sections of our Library resources guide, such as data and statistics and legal resources.


European Union collections

LSE became a European Documentation Centre in 1964, which meant it received free official publications from the European Union and supported academic and public research that used these collections. The post-referendum withdrawal agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union that came into effect in February 2020 meant that all European Documentation Centres in the United Kingdom effectively closed, and we no longer receive new print publications.

Print material

Our European collections are diverse and dispersed across the Library. They contain official publications and reports, monographs, periodicals, statistics and other documents. Use Library Search to find specific materials and discover where they are located.

Most European-related material is on closed access, such as IGO Reports. These use a different classification system to monographs, which usually depends on the subject. Examples include:

  • EC: European Communities and European Union
  • EP: European Parliament
  • EIB: European Investment Bank
  • ECSC: European Coal and Steel Community
  • EEC: European Economic Community
  • EAEC: European Atomic Energy Community

Monographs and periodicals are mainly on the open shelves, in either the Course or Main Collections. Some of the main classmarks are:

  • HC240.25: European Union in relation to individual regions or countries
  • HC241: European Economic Integration
  • JN26-50: Political Institutions of the European Union
  • JV7590: Emigration and Immigration in the European Union
  • JZ1570-1668: Diplomacy of the European Union
  • JZ5425: European Union
  • KJE: European Law (eg, European Court of Justice)

Online collections

The key sources of European Union information online are:

  • Archive of European Integration is an online repository and archive of research materials on European integration. It contains both independently produced research and EU documents. 
  • The British Library website features extensive information about the European Union, including institutions, statistics, legislation, history, etc. 
  • EUR-Lex is the EU’s official legal database providing treaties, legislation (directives, regulations, decisions), proposals, opinions, agreements and case law. 
  • European Sources Online is a resource maintained by Cardiff University Library. ESO features primary and official sources, commentary and analyses, summaries and media reports, journal articles, blog posts, monographs and textbooks, among other sources.
  • The official European Union website provides information on EU institutions, committees, policies, treaties, legislation, case law, etc. It is a gateway to information for citizens and to documentation for research.
  • Eurostat is the statistics website for the European Union, and provides data by several themes, including economy, demography, industry and trade, transport, environment and science and technology.

Archives and special collections

The Library also has a collection of archives relating to Britain’s relationship to Europe, including material relating to the UK’s relationship in and out of the European Union. View referendum campaigning leaflets for both 1975 and 2016 referendums.

For the rest of our archives and special collections on this topic and how to access them, see our Britain and Europe collections highlights page.


United Nations collections

LSE has been a depository library of the United Nations since 1946. This means we hold a comprehensive collection of print publications and documents, but we do not hold a copy of every title published.

The depository agreement does not cover all UN bodies (eg, specialised agencies such as the International Labour Organization and the World Bank). Collections for bodies outside the depository agreement are inconsistent, and stronger in some areas than others.

The UN’s precursor was the League of Nations and the Library has extensive holdings of League of Nations material. Most of this is kept in the Store League of Nations collection (closed access).

Print material

Our UN collections are diverse and dispersed across the Library. They contain documents (meeting records, reports), monographs and official records (the business of the main organs of the UN). Use Library Search to find specific materials and discover where they are located.

Most UN-related material is on closed access, such as IGO Reports. These use a different classification system to monographs, which usually depends on the subject. Most UN-related material will be classified as UN, but some of the UN bodies have their own classification:

  • FAO: Food and Agriculture Programme
  • ICAO: International Civil Aviation Organization
  • IFAD: International Fund for Agricultural Development
  • ILO: International Labour Organization
  • IMCO: International Maritime Organization
  • IMF: International Monetary Fund
  • ITU: International Telecommunication Union
  • UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
  • UNIDO: United Nations Industrial Development Organization
  • UPU: Universal Postal Union
  • IBRD: The World Bank Group (also includes International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, International Finance Corporation, International Development Association, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency and International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes)
  • WHO: World Health Organization
  • WIPO: World Intellectual Property Organization
  • WMO: World Meteorological Organization
  • IRO: International Refugee Organization

Related organisations

    • IAEA: International Atomic Energy Agency
    • ICEM: International Organization for Migration
    • WTO: World Trade Organization

Online collections

From November 2021, we ceased taking new UN publications in print. UN publications since 1993 are available online and depository libraries are not required to provide access to both formats. The key sources of United Nations information online are:

  • AccessUN is an index to United Nations documents including Official Records, masthead documents, draft resolutions, meeting records, UN Sales Publications, UN periodical articles, ICJ publications and the UN Treaty Series.
  • UN Digital Library includes documents, votes, speeches, public domain documents from various United Nations bodies. Some documents for free download; others require subscription.
  • UN Official Documentation System contains full-text, born-digital UN documents published from 1993 onward, including documents of the Security Council, the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and their subsidiaries, as well as administrative issuances and other documents. The database also includes scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993, including all resolutions of the principal organs, all documents of the Security Council and the General Assembly Official Records.
  • UN iLibrary (subscription) is a comprehensive global search, discovery, and viewing source for accessing publications, journals, data, and series published by the United Nations Secretariat, and its funds and programs, on various topics.

For more information about accessing documents online, including interpreting document symbols, use the guidance provided by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library.

Archives and special collections

The archives and special collections also hold the archives of the League of Nations Union and United Nations Association. A small amount of this material, includingthe minutes of the League of Nations Union are available online.

For the rest of our archives and special collections relating to this theme and peace and internationalism more generally, see the collections highlights page.


United States collections

LSE Library has received a depository set of United States federal government publications since 1903. It has one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of US government publications outside the United States. Our twentieth century collections are incomplete, and stronger in the post-Second World War era than before. We have developed collections from the nineteenth century through acquiring microfilms as they have become available.

Print material

Our US government publications are a combination of closed and open access. The open access titles are held in the Government Publications collections on the Lower Ground Floor. These include documents published by various arms of the US government and other government-related bodies. The country classification number for the US is 73.

Most US government publications are not discoverable on the library catalogue and researchers will need to use either the Monthly Catalog of United States Government Publications or the Catalog of US Government Publications to find the SuDoc (Superintendent of Documents) number. The key sources outlined in the ‘online’ section below is an indicative representation of what we hold in print from (mostly) the twentieth century. Those not listed on the library catalogue will be in closed access.

Note that some US government publications are often a few years behind in terms of publication (eg, the Public Papers of the President have only been published in print and online up and until the Obama Presidency).

Online collections

Since December 2021, we have ceased taking most US government publications in print, only retaining the Congressional Serial Set (as online access is only available until 1980).

Most current and historic US government publications are available online, including bills and statues, budgetary information, judicial publications and more. The key sources of US government information online:

Need further advice or assistance?

Find out how to get in contact with our Enquiries team, librarians or curators.

Explore some of our online collections