ELVIL will develop an Internet-based aid for search, selection and presentation of information on European law and politics. Today this body of information is scattered among numerous locations and media with no unified method of access. The application will significantly increase the availability of the information and be an important step towards building a European infrastructure of legal and political information to the benefit of both the civic and educational community.
The intended users consists of graduate and undergraduate students, teachers, librarians, media and the general public. The application increases the availability of information by supplying a point-and-click graphical interface to a wide range of legislative computer based resources. It will contribute to the development of new multimedia teaching tools and services and will facilitate distance-learning.
The project consists of three parts - a pedagogical and easy-to-use interface, a WWW-index and a search engine - which form an integrated whole: The European Legislative Virtual Library (ELVIL).The first part will assemble a WWW index on law and politics in Europe in order to gather all Internet-accessible computer-based information resources on European law and politics into one coherent WWW-accessible database. A final prototype will be presented after 20 months.
The second part will develop a multimedia educational aid, including a multi-lingual thesaurus, for students of European law and politics, teachers and librarians. A final prototype will be presented after 24 months.
The third part will construct a search engine composed of a common WWW interface and software gateways for easy and concurrent access to the national parliamentary databases and to the European parliamentary database. A final prototype will be presented after 24 months.
The main technical issues are:
all issues associated with the design of a WWW-based Internet online service;
multimedia design and user friendliness, database design, interoperability; conformity to Internet standards and security;
the use of HTML for all applications as a way to build user interfaces;
TCP/IP over the Internet as the transport protocol-suite;
firewall technology and an extensive certification programme to ensure the necessary level of trust.
Impact, users and expected results
The project will make a significant contribution to both the extent and quality of the infrastructure for European legislative and legal information. It will increase the potential for civic participation as well as providing basic tools for both traditional and long-distance education. Through the production of multimedia educational material the project will help to integrate the new online library services in a distance learning environment.
There will be three main test sites in Sweden, Spain and the UK.
Phase 1 of the project aimed mainly at analyzing the requirements to the ELVIL service, and establishing the architectural description of the final system. To demonstrate the viability of the architecture, initial prototypes were developed for the key components of the system.
The main outcomes of phase 1 were:
a survey of the expected user groups, resulting in a set of requirements and recommendations for the ELVIL system;
the design document and initial prototype for the WWW Index;
the design document and initial prototype for the Educational Aid;
the design document and initial prototype for the Multilingual Thesaurus;
design document and initial prototype for the Legislative Search Engine.
In phase 2, the bulk of the development and production work will take place, along with the final validation of the project and the exploitation planning. The concrete outcomes include the final prototypes for the Multilingual Thesaurus, the WWW Index, the Educational Aid, and the Legislative Search Engine. The culmination of the development work is the establishment of the ELVIL service itself. During the exploitation planning process, a framework will be sought for maintaining the service beyond the end of the project, and for utilising the developed software and expertise in different contexts.