Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

European law on the web

The successful economic union of European countries with its social and political changes that are occurring throughout Europe demand that the Union must be expanded to include more aspects of our social life. A European project aims at this effort by creating a portal to European Law and Politics. Citizens now not only have access to information but also can gain a better understanding of the democratic political procedures in Europe.
European law on the web
The European Legislative VIrtual Library, ELVIL 2000, is simply an academic portal on the Internet, a single WWW-based user interface that provides information on European Law and Politics in many ways. At the Internet address legislation information about four different countries is currently available.

The databases in the project are the Swedish Parliament database named Rixlex, the English Parliament database named Polis, the Czech parliament database and selected databases from the Polish Parliament. Also available is a sample from the European Parliament database.

As expected, different traditions of parliamentary procedures among the above-mentioned countries are reflected in their corresponding databases. Different political procedures followed are what actually cause these databases to differ in aspects like database format, search interface and necessary hardware. Nevertheless the ELVIL and ELVIL 2000 projects incorporated the use of the Z39.50 gateway that enables all the above databases to be searched in the same way. The site also contains more databases, which at the current stage of development of the project can only be searched with their original interface.

The multilingual problem has also been addressed through the use of the EUROVOC thesaurus that serves as a language switchboard. The thesaurus enables a Swedish user to search the English database in Swedish and vice versa.

The aim of the project is not only to simply provide information but also to aid the user in his effort to gain a better understanding of European political procedures. With this in mind the ELVIL encyclopaedia has been produced with lectures on European law and also a case-bank with the most important issues people have been engaged with over the last few years.

The development of the ELVIL Virtual Librarian helps the users to find the most relevant information they need. Using fuzzy logic based on information about user requirements and experiences the Virtual Librarian can infer what type of information the user is seeking.

The wide range of databases available within the ELVIL site in conjunction with its powerful search capabilities, provide every European citizen access to vast amounts of legislative information in a coherent way and allows a better understanding of the political democratic procedures followed in Europe.

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