The WHO library's mandate is to maintain a complete and comprehensive collection of WHO material. All other working collections are selective and constantly updated to contain only relevant and current information. Collections respond to the policies and priorities of the organization.

The collections include:

  • WHO permanent collection
    The collective memory of WHO publications, periodicals and technical and administrative documents in all languages and formats.
  • International public health literature
    Book and periodical collections that support the current programmes and goals of WHO and the work of the Executive Board and the World Health Assembly.
  • Journals and databases
    An international, multi-disciplinary collection of journals covering all aspects of public health and development, and the databases which provide tailored search access to their contents. Of particular note are the large number of health and medical journals from developing countries.
  • Historical Collection
    Books on the history of public health and books and documents on the history of WHO and its predecessor organizations.

Historical Collection

Since the founding of the WHO in 1948, the Library serves as the collective memory of the Organization preserving publications arising from WHO activities. The Historical Collection, established in 1995, is in association with the Institut Louis Jeantet d'Histoire de la Médecine of the University of Geneva, a WHO collaborating centre for the history of public health.

A programme of optical scanning of selected important works and rare books of the historical collection has been undertaken to produce printed facsimiles with an electronic version in PDF format available on this site. The collection is much larger than appears on this site. For more information on the entire collection, click on the following link.

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Contact Us

Library and Information Networks for Knowledge
World Health Organization
Avenue Appia 20
1211 Geneva 27
Tel.: +41(0)22 791 2062
Fax: +41(0)22 791 4150