European Documentation Centres (EDCs)
EDCs organised over 2300 events last year, which were attended by more than 87 000 people. Of these,
1500 events were targeted at students, while the rest were aimed at the general public.
The themes covered included European information sources on line, and research and analysis on EU policies.
A quarter of the EDCs used social media as a teaching tool and even more as a promotion channel. Most of
them answered complex questions about the EU from students and the general public.
Innovation in Open Access documentation
For over 20 years,
university members and citizens
with quick and easy access to EU
documents and information. During
these two decades, the challenges
facing the EDC have evolved, from
explaining what the Union offers a
relative newcomer to the EU, such as
Spain, to supporting professors and
researchers in developing educational
programmes on European integration some 20 or so years later.
“Our challenge now is to be in the front row of documentation
science,” explains Elvira Aleixandre Baeza, responsible for the EDC
since 1993. “This of course means utilising the internet, but it also
means dealing with new concepts and standards such as Open
Access, Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting
(OAI-PMH) and metadata for documents. We need to share infor-
mation in the internet (from repositories to Google Scholar) and
preserve documents using the right tools.”
This is why Spanish EDCs have been working on a ground-breaking
electronic repository: the
is an Open Access repository that includes relevant documents in all
formats – text, image, audio and video – concerning Spain and the EU.
The repository, located on a server at the Universitat Jaume I,
also includes scientific journals and academic material generated
by universities relating to the EU. Some 20 Spanish EDCs have
been involved, along with the Commission Representation in Spain
and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. “I must also
mention the Technical Committee which has been working hard
to establish the technical procedures and coordination between
these 22 institutions,” says Ms Baeza.
The archive offers audio and video streaming and navigation menus
in English, Spanish and Catalan. To describe documents, English key
words are used
the EU’s multilingual thesaurus – so
that searches can be carried out in English. Documents are assigned
a Uniform Resource Identifier, or URI, which permanently identifies
them on the internet, like an ISBN number for books. Document
descriptions are made in accordance with international standards,
so that search engines can easily retrieve them.
© Elvira Aleixandre Baeza