This section describes the online disclosure of recent World Bank content such as a project information document, a working paper, or a procurement plan.  Many documents are routinely disclosed as part of their overall information life cycle as described in Annex 2 of the Access to Information Policy/Directive.  There are several categories of disclosure described below. 

Routine Disclosure - Documents & Reports

  • Most routinely disclosed documents are available in the Documents & Reports (D&R) repository, which contains over 380,000 documents starting from 1946
  • D&R  follows specific Collection Curation Guidelines requiring content to be final, dated, stand-alone (not partial documents), and not in violation of any copyright
  • Sometimes a document is not disclosed in its entirety, but its metadata (basic catalog information) is disclosed - this enables the public to see that it is potentially available and to make an Access to Information request to obtain full access - see list of metadata-only documents
  • Though the majority of content is in English, the top web levels of D&R are available in the six Bank languages: Spanish, French, Arabic, Portuguese, Russian, and Chinese
  • D&R metadata (including links to content) is also available via direct download from the site as well as via API,
  • The Bank has an official “Open Access”  Policy and Repository available here: WB's Open Access Policy for Formal Publications and the Open Knowledge Repository (OKR) (openknowledge.worldbank.org). The OKR contains the Bank’s high-level original research, which is a subset of D&R
  • Docs & Reports currently discloses 30,000+ documents per year


Additional Items Available via Public Documents

  • Additional items means content which does not fit into the D&R collection nor into a regular website. This content is disclosed and made available via pubdocs.worldbank.org.
  • Content in pubdocs.worldbank.org that is associated with a project ID number is available for the relevant Project at projects.worldbank.org under the Documents subtab,
  • Some content is disclosed directly to the Projects site such as procurement notices and contract awards



  • The Development Data Hub at data.worldbank.org has thousands of development related datasets, many from World Bank research and operations work
  • The Open Finances site has an enormous amount of information, including historical, about the finances of the World Bank Group


  • A large number of files (documents, presentations, photos,) are made public via individual websites (not necessarily part of a more standardized repository) - these are searchable and browsable from https://www.worldbank.org/ 
  • Older websites are sometimes removed from the 'live' worldbank.org and made available at webarchives.worldbank.org

Email Alerts

  • Email Alerts let the public subscribe to the latest news, project documents, procurement notices, research, and more
  • Alerts are delivered to the subscriber's inbox daily and can be customized by topic, country, and content type
  • Available in the six Bank languages

Much of the World Bank Group's historical records are in paper format and are stored in an off-site storage facility.  If paper content has been declassified, there are several steps to make it accessible online. 


  • 1st Condition Assessment: Materials are reviewed and documentation created detailing their physical condition.
  • Scanning: materials are digitized by manual scanning. Tiff images are generated from this process and combined into PDF format.
  • QA Review/2nd Condition Assessment: during QA review, PDF images are cropped and edited. Any missing or partial scans are re-scanned and PDFs appended. Cover sheets are inserted. 2nd Condition Assessment occurs as the last step with the physical files.
  • Rendering: PDFs are sent to rendering which automates many metadata and publishing processes. PDFs return with URLs and are sent to storage and URLs recorded. PDFs can also be rendered manually (refer to Appendix 4).  Once a pdf has been created, it is posted online at pubdocs.worldbank.org,
  • Outgoing: materials are placed in the appropriate location for follow-up by the Archives Access to Information Team.


  • Archival records are described using fonds and series (similar to a catalog) - see information about Archival Finding Aids
  • To make it easier for researchers to understand the context of an individual digitized file, the files are attached to descriptions called series which are in turn part of a larger description called a fond
  • Fonds are groups of records in all formats created by a single office, function, or individual
  • Each fonds has, at minimum, a fonds-level description. Within each fonds, the records may be further arranged into sub-fonds, which most commonly reflects organizational or authority divisions within the office or function. This fonds (or sub-fonds if extant) may contain series of records, which generally reflects activities or record form

Declassification refers to content that was initially restricted (Official Use Only, Confidential, or Strictly Confidential) but later became eligible for declassification as per the Access to Information Policy and was made Public.  There are several broad categories of declassification outlined below:

Reactive Declassification

  • Digital content that is declassified in response to an Access to Information request is made available through Documents & Reports or PubDocs
  • Responding to Access to Information requests may require searching the paper records of the Archives. This involves the retrieval of boxes from the Archives off-site storage facility and reviewed by World Bank archivists
  • Folders of paper records responsive to the request, and eligible for declassification, are reviewed, stamped as 'Declassified' and their metadata updated in the system
  • The content is then either posted online (if already digital) or provided to the researcher, in person, at the Archives Reading Room, located at World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC,
  • When possible, declassified paper content is digitized - see Digitization tab

Proactive Declassification

  • Some content is proactively declassified (not as a result of a specific Access to Information request) when it is thought to be of interest to researchers & the general public
  • One example is the review of popular document types (working and research papers) that are Official Use Only once they become eligible for declassification
  • The declassified content is usually then added to D&R or to the Archive Holdings,
  • Some examples of proactive declassification include:
    • older working papers - these were prioritized due to the high level of interest in research studies,
    • yellow and green cover reports - historical analytic draft reports that had not yet been disclosed,
    • World Bank’s European loans (1945-1960)  - many declassified records were featured in the European loan timeline

Last Updated: May 10, 2021