UNESCO Education UIL

UNESCO International Bureau of Education (IBE), Switzerland

Documentation and Information Unit

Rooted in the international library of education, started at the creation of the IBE in 1925 (long before the IBE became an integral part of UNESCO in 1969), the collections of the IBE Documentation Centre cover present educational development trends as well as historical materials on educational ideas and movements since the beginning of the 20th century, including materials of several adult education documentation conferences organized by the IBE in the 1970s. Today, in compliance with the mandate of the Bureau, the Centre’s collections are focused on policy documents which help to orient the development of education systems in UNESCO’s Member States, on the content of education and curriculum development, and on teaching methods. In addition, the Centre gives special attention to the gathering of descriptions and evaluations of innovatory approaches to the solution of teaching/learning problems. The UNESCO: IBE Education Thesaurus, developed by the IBE in 1973 and issued in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese is used as a tool for indexing and retrieving documents and data in the field of education in an international context. The 6th edition, (2nd rev, 2007) of the Thesaurus is available in full text on the IBE’s website in English only.

Areas of Specialization:

Comparative education, Curriculum development, Education, Educational policy, Primary education, Secondary education

User Profile:

Educational decision–makers and administrators including those at school level; curriculum specialists; educational researchers; documentation and information staff in centres specializing in education

Contact Information


15, route des Morillons
CH–1218 Grand–Saconnex

Mailing Address:
P O Box 199
CH–1211 Geneva 20

(+41–22) 917 78 60
(+41–22) 917 78 01
Contact person:
Ruth Creamer

Basic Institutional Data:

Founded in:
Parent Organisation:
Mmantsetsa Marope
Information staff:
Countries Served:
UNESCO Member States
Working Languages:
English, French, Spanish


Books and Documents:
125.000 books; 15.000 documents (UNESCO); 405.000 microfiches
Periodicals recieved p.a.:
Annual growth of Collection:

Methods of Data Management

Cataloging Rules
Classification System
Universal Decimal Classification (UDC)
Methods of Data Processing
Indexing Tool
UNESCO: IBE Education Thesaurus, and UNESCO Thesaurus
Database Software
Techlib; Typo3

Services and Special Activities

Information Services Provided

Reference and information services as well as literature searches for users of the Documentation Centre; access via Internet and CD–ROM to information on school systems of Member States and to innovations in curriculum development (particularly humanities and social sciences) and teaching methods introduced in Member States; response to individual requests for information and literature searches in the above–mentioned areas.

Special Activities

Development of an international databank of profiles of school systems (World Data on Education) available on CD–ROM and Internet; development of the IBE’s Website; digital library of National Education Reports; online  curricula collection, bi-weekly alert service; quarterly digest of online reports.

Other material

Challenges and Obstacles in Carrying out the Work

Lack of funds and lack of staff. The Centre’s acquisition policy is in the first place directed at official documents and 'grey literature', therefore its procurement depends on the co–operation of the official bodies concerned.

Strategies and Perspectives to Improve Services

Closer relationships with users in Member States through the IBE Website and the IBE Community of Practice in Curriculum Development; provision of bi-weekly service of online alerts of education news and research reports will continue to be produced and improved; as new technology develops, its potential usefulness for the Bureau’s information and documentation activities will be explored.