Bibliographical Research

The Union of International Associations has been associated with bibliographical initiatives since its creation in 1907. One of its founders, Paul Otlet, was at that time Secretary-General of the International Institute of Bibliography (founded in 1895), through which the Universal Decimal Classification (UDC), was first developed. The institute later became the International Federation for Documentation (FID), and, in 1986, the International Federation for Information and Documentation.

The bibliographical work of the UIA has taken several distinct approaches, including: publications produced by international organizations and by organization executives; conference proceedings; studies of international organizations; and bibliography relating to the themes of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential.

Publications produced by international organizations

The profiles of international organizations which appear in Volume 1 of the Yearbook of International Organizations have included bibliographical information on the periodical and other publications produced by such organizations, since the early form of the Yearbook published in 1910. For example a Catalogue des publications d'associations internationales was published by the UIA in La Vie Internationale (1921, novembre, 1, pp 197-202, fascicule 26). Between 1983 and 1995, such information was also presented in Volume 1 of the Yearbook as a special title index (in an Appendix) to the publication information in organization profiles.

Information on the publications of international organizations first appeared in a separate volume produced by the UIA in 1953 under the title Directory of Periodicals Published by International Non-Governmental Organizations. This contained a total of 699 entries. A revised edition was published in 1959, containing 1,340 entries; another revision was published in 1969 containing 1,734 entries. Space constraints also increased the justification for a separate volume of the Yearbook of International Organizations dedicated to organizations' bibliography, into which this information could be transferred in a new format with indexing. First published in 1995, it is titled Volume 4: International Organizations Bibliography and Resources.The UIA was represented in a number of discussions relating to the challenges of bibliographical control of intergovernmental, and especially United Nations, documentation; and produced commissioned reports for two such events. The first part of Volume 4 of the Yearbook contains this bibliographical information. It contains 16,695 entries.

Volume 6: Who's Who in International Organizations, first published in 2007, details the descriptive personal profiles of executives of international organizations. This volume also contains personal bibliographies of organization executives and information on works that they have authored or edited.

Bibliography of conference proceedings

In its concern to document the activities of international organizations, much effort was first devoted by the UIA to bibliographical work on proceedings of international conferences. This initiative developed naturally from the long-term documentation of scheduled future international meetings into the International Congress Calendar.

The bibliographies took a number of forms, notably the Bibliographical current list of papers, reports and proceedings of international meetings (1961-68). Cumulative editions by conference year were undertaken in the form of a Bibliography of Proceedings of International Meetings (for the conference years 1957, 1958, 1959), published in the period 1963-1966. These initiatives were funded by the National Science Foundation of the USA. The bibliographies included abstracts and UDC classification.

A more compact presentation, without abstracts, was then adopted for the publication of a Yearbook of International Congress Proceedings: bibliography of reports arising out of meetings held by international organizations (for the conference years 1960-1967) containing 8,500 entries. A second volume was published in 1971 (for the conference years 1962-1969) containing approximately 8,500 entries. With the increasing importance and commercialization of bibliographic information, the justification for this initiative by the UIA diminished and this work was terminated in 1970.

The UIA has also published a Bibliography on Congress Theory and Practice by G C Fighiera in 1982 as part of its Congress Science series.

Bibliography of studies on international organizations

The UIA's former journal Transnational Associations is a key bibliographical source of studies addressing the major current preoccupations of international civil society, and particularly nongovernmental organizations profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.

In addition to bibliographical information appearing in Transnational Associations, the former Secretary-General of the UIA, G P Speeckaert produced International Institutions and International Organization: a select bibliography in 1956 containing 783 entries. A revised edition was produced under the title Select Bibliography on International Organization in 1965 containing 1,080 entries. A cumulative index to articles that had appeared in Transnational Associations under its earlier names was produced by Eyvind S Tew in 1962 under the title The First Ten Years of International Associations.

A comprehensive bibliography of studies of international NGOs was produced by Anthony Judge and Kjell Skjelsbaek under the title Bibliography of Documents on Transnational Association Networks and published in the 1972 edition of the Yearbook of International Organizations. A revised version appeared in the 1974 French edition of this Yearbook. It contained approximately 854 entries.

The third part of Volume 4 of the Yearbook is the result of extensive bibliographical research building on initiatives of the past and incorporating references to the most recent studies and information in Transnational Associations.

Bibliography relating to the Encyclopedia

Bibliographical work by the UIA on the problems and issues faced by international organizations dates back to its origins in 1910. It had been continued through the work on conference proceedings, terminated in 1970. After that, the work continued in a different form in the bibliography included in the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential in the 1991 edition and extended in the 1994-95 edition with a bibliography on the strategies and initiatives taken by such organizations.

The second part of Volume 4 of the Yearbook extends the bibliographical information (also presented in the section bibliographies on "world problems" (Section PY), "action strategies" (Section SY) and "human values" (Section VY) of the complementary Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential).

Many international organizations are explicitly or implicitly concerned with general or specific approaches to human development or the promotion of particular values. Since 1972 and in connection with the human potential section of the Encyclopedia, bibliographies have been compiled on:

  • human development
  • modes of awareness
  • human values

The Encyclopedia also includes a bibliography of works on interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, unitary and integrative knowledge relating to descriptive entries on some 632 such concepts, since the first edition in 1976. Bibliographic work on knowledge management, interdisciplinarity, and challenges to comprehension (notably across cultures) have been a feature of UIA studies and the first edition of the Encyclopedia contains the first comprehensive bibliography on interdisciplinarity. Since the 1991, the Encyclopedia also contains a bibliography of selected works on metaphor.