In 1958, Unesco and the International Council on Archives (ICA) decided to anticipate the needs of historical research in the newly emancipated Third World by creating the Guide to the Sources for the History of the Nations. This was intended to make accessible the documentary sources for the history of Latin America, Africa, Asia and Oceania preserved in Europe and the United States. An International Technical Committee was set up, consisting of representatives from the various national archives. This Committee formulated specifications for the preparation of the guides. In each national volume, sources were to be described according to the individual repository, and, within each repository, by grouping or series. According to the nature of each group, descriptions will concentrate on the speciality and functions of the organisation producing the records or on the subjects which can be studied with their help. To this are added data about the size of the archives, the available inventories or other entries and their value. The guides will also include privately-owned archives (family and business archives), manuscript collections in libraries, maps and plans, iconographic materials, sound archives and microfilms. In describing maps and iconographic materials, emphasis will be laid on MSS and printed material from before 1700. It is not intended to replace the existing inventories, catalogues or indexes (printed or not), but to provide a first entry to the sources, with a maximum of information in a condensed and usable form. In several cases, however, summary listing of source material will be unavoidable, for instance when relevant material in a collection of individual documents or in a map collection has never been adequately described.