Social Education 58(7), 1994, pp. 457-460
National Council for the Social Studies

Databases, CD-ROMs, & Cassettes

Patricia Szczerba
An ever-growing amount of information about the United Nations
is available via technology, from on-line databases such as Internet, America Online, CompuServe, and Prodigy to CD-ROMs and diskettes. Much of this information originates from the UN itself, but a growing amount is from commercial networks and non-governmental organizations affiliated with the UN.
Currently, this information includes full-text resolutions from the Security Council, General Assembly, and the Economic and Social Council, daily press releases from UN headquarters, the book Basic Facts About the United Nations, and preparatory documents for the UN's major upcoming conferences, the Social Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, in March 1995, and the Women's Conference in September 1995 in Beijing, China. Selected news items are in French and Spanish. Additional material is being added continuously.

Non-governmental organizations affiliated with the UN, of which there are some 3,000 all over the world, are disseminating their opinions, programs, and agendas via newsletters and short articles on Internet and electronic databases such as PeaceNet in the United States, GreenNet in the UK, Pegasus in Australia, and GlasNet in Russia. Most on-line databases also offer discussion forums on issues that the UN deals with such as the environment, human rights, and conflict resolution. America Online, for example, offers information about the Peace Education Institute as part of its Electronic University.

(Note: Each network provides different types of information, and for different costs. Listings focus on UN information.)

Agora Telematica is a complete multilingual system, which currently "speaks" seven languages: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Esperanto, and Russian (Cyrillic characters).

Connect by:
Internet: Telnet

BT Tymnet: logon: agora

SprintNet: ITAPAC

Provides: (UN information)

Cost: Agora is free for individual users, just by completing the application form on-line and sending a copy of an identity card by fax (+39/6/69920123). For companies and associations, the price is changeable, about $300 for companies and a nominal fee for NGOs.

Information and registration:
Agora Computer Conference System
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II
39 00186 Roma Italia
Tel: (06) 68-64-233; 68-32-366
E-mail for individual users: Ivo Forni at
For companies: Daniela Vacirca at

America Online
Peace Education Institute, Electronic University Network

Courses: Nurturing Families in a World of Conflict; Peace Education Volunteers for UN50.

Discussions on all areas of peace from peacemaking in homes, schools, and communities to global conflicts. America Online offers free software and ten hours to explore the service; monthly fee: $9.95 for five hours, plus $3.50 per additional hour (hourly cost to be reduced in January, 1995); access to Internet newsgroups. Seeking volunteers to help create courses and conferences on the UN, environment, human rights, women, family, health, and healing.

Information and registration:

Sue Blythe
Peace Education Now
PO Box 4157
Gainesville, FL 32613
Tel: 904-376-0642

APC Networks
(Association for Progressive Communi-cations). In the United States: Institute for Global Communication (IGC): PeaceNet, EcoNet, ConflictNet, LaborNet. APC is a network of more than 30 systems worldwide, including the Web in Canada, GreenNet in Great Britain, GlasNet in Russia, Comlink in Germany, Pegasus in Australia and the Pacific Islands, etc. It links more than 18,000 international peace, environmental, and conflict resolution users. Many non-governmental organizations are on-line.


Cost: $15.00 sign-up fee, $10.00 per month, plus $5/hr. off peak and $7/hr. peak (M-F, 7:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.); additional Internet cost: $3/hr. Costs vary in different countries.

Information and registration:
IGC Network (Institute for Global Communication) in the United States
18 De Boom Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
Tel: 415-442-0220, Fax: 415-546-1794

Using this system requires using their software obtained upon registration, and Windows or a Macintosh system.


Cost: Sign-up fee of $15 includes TogetherNet software for IBM PC clones or Macintosh; $10 per month gives unlimited on-line use; dial 212 New York City area code or 802 Burlington, VT, or pay for 800 number at 13 cents per minute ($7.80/hr)

Information and registration:
The Together Foundation
55 E. 75th Street
New York, NY 10021
Tel: 212-628-1939, Fax: 212-628-4265

Computer BBS (Bulletin Board Service)


Access: To connect to this BBS, dial 910-722-5164 (pay for cost of call). This is not an Internet connection, but a computer dedicated to the BBS. Can communicate at up to 14,400 baud; set modem at 8-N-1.

For information and registration:
Box 15491
Winston-Salem, NC 27103
Internet address: (this is for messages, not to access information)

United Nations Information Service. Available on Internet by subscription to UNISER (must have Internet ID and UNISER subscription).


Cost: $20 per month and $20 per hour on-line time.

The above information is valid as of August 1994. For expected changes, as well as information and registration, please contact:

Global Education Motivators, Inc.
Chestnut Hill College
Chestnut Hill, PA 19118-2695
Tel: 215-248-1150, Fax: 215-248-7056

Global Data Manager
This program operates as a dedicated spreadsheet and assesses large libraries of data stored in the accompanying Basic World Data Disk and other Data Disks from the World Game Institute. Can analyze and compare data using a variety of functions, such as sort and compare up to 200 variables at once, perform mathematical computations, create percentage bar graphs, locate any country on a distortion-free map, choose from more than 5,000 available indicators, etc. IBM-compatible and Macintosh formats. Site licenses available.

From: World Game Institute, 3215 Race
Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-2597
Tel: 215-387-0220, Fax: 215-387-3009
Free catalog of other disks available
Cost: $75.00

Global Recall 2.0
This is the largest and most complete database available in atlas format-more than 600 data indicators for all countries in nine categories, including environment, energy, population, education, military, etc., which can be easily compared between countries and quickly graphed. Graph your data or export it easily to popular spreadsheets. More than 200 of the latest, most up-to-date maps of every country, including major topographical features, satellite images of the whole Earth, and country and city locators that enable you to locate any country or city at the press of a button.

From: World Game Institute (see above)
Cost: $149.95; educational discount @$95.00
Please Copy This Disk
(Internet public domain material on diskettes, IBM, and Macintosh; only 3.5" size)

Because the Internet is so huge, it is frequently difficult to find specific information. B Samizdat Express has downloaded more than 285 titles from Internet and is selling them at $10 per disk. Because there is no copyright, each disk can be freely copied and shared with your colleagues. Titles cover all fields from history to science. UN titles include the following:

The United Nations: What It Is and What It Does, 4 disks, $10.00 each, $40.00 for the set.

UN Human Rights Reports #2: Afghanistan, Cuba, Haiti, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, South Africa, Sudan, 1993, 1 disk, $10.00.

United Nations Resolutions, Security Council, General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, 31 disks, $10 each (Contact for details).

Basic Facts About the United Nations, 1992, 1 disk, $10.00.

Free monthly electronic newsletter Internet-on-a-Disk discusses issues related to electronic texts, provides pointers for those who want to find information on Internet, and lists new titles available. To have this electronic newsletter sent to your e-mailbox each month, send e-mail to:, or paper mail to Richard Seltzer, B Samizdat Express, P.O. Box 161, West Roxbury, MA 02132.

World Resources Data Diskette
A time-saving research and reference tool, diskette contains all of the data in World Resources 1994-95 plus 20-year time series for many variables. Allows students to compare, chart, and analyze the data themselves. IBM-compatible, high-density disks. Includes World Resources 1994-95, plus 3.5" and 5.25" IBM-compatible high-density diskettes.

From: Oxford University Press
Humanities and Social Sciences Marketing Dept., 200
Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Tel: 1-800-451-7556
Cost: $119.00

World Statistics in Brief: Special Issue
Stat-Base Locator on Disk, UNSTAT's Guide to International Computerized Statistical Databases

Find international computerized statistical databases that offer access to statistical information. Description of database, accessibility, subject areas, span of data, etc.

From: UN Publications, 2 United Nations Plaza, Room DC2-853, Dept. 007, New York, NY 10017

Tel: 212-963-8302, Tel: 800-253-9646, Fax: 212-963-3489

UN Earth Version 1.0
The United Nations: What It Is and What It Does (diskette and booklet). These 2 diskettes answer all of your questions on the UN system. Information on administrative offices, information services, and databases from many sources of the UN system, its structure, and its activities across the globe.

From: UN Publications (see above)
Cost: $95.00 version 1.0, $60.00 version 2.0

Earth Summit on CD-ROM
More than 40,000 pages of information on the Earth Summit (June 1992) proceedings, including Agenda 21 and all other documents.

From: UN Publications (see above)
Cost: $495.00

Human Rights on CD-ROM: Bibliographical Database for United Nations Documents and Publications (1980-Oct. 1993)
This is the electronic version of the printed Human Rights Bibliography 1980-90, includes updates through October 1993 and contains more than 12,000 bibliographic references. Searches can be conducted in English, French, and Spanish.

From: UN Publications (see above)
Cost: $190.00

Statistical Yearbook on CD-ROM
This is the electronic form of the 38th edition of the printed United Nations Statistical Yearbook and contains about one million entries. For all countries and areas of the world, it presents an overall comprehensive description of the world economy, its structure, major trends, and recent performance. Data available as of 1 September 1992.

From: UN Publications (see above)
Cost: $249.00

(United Nations System/Selected Agencies Bibliographic Information Records) Contains more than 195,000 bibliographic records describing the publications and documents of thirty-two organizations in the United Nations system.

From: UN Publications (see above)
Cost: $195.00

United Nations Fiftieth Anniversary Information
From gopher:
From Mosaic: URL: gopher://
From Telenet: open; logon: gopher; select: Other Gopher and Information Services; select: International Organizations: select: United Nations
From e-mail: To:
This generates an automated reply with step-by-step instructions.

Information is also expected to be available on America Online, CompuServe, Prodigy, and other major systems.

Patricia Szczerba is the United Nations Representative for Global Education Motivators, Inc., headquartered at Chestnut Hill College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is Section Editor for The Universal Almanac, writing on international issues and statistics.