European Documentation Centre

About the European Documentation Centre

European Documentation Centres are neutral collections of official publications of the European Union, open to the public and normally housed in academic libraries throughout the European Union (EU). EDC status entitles the host library to receive one copy free of charge of most significant publications and documents of the EU. The Bodleian Library has been an EDC since 1963.

 Of course the free world wide web (internet) has subsequently become the quickest and most effective tool for accessing current EU publications. Indeed, in 2016, some EU publications are only published digitally now. The EU's own website Europa, can be difficult to navigate, so you may find it easier just to carry out an internet search using google adding to your search term or phrase to limit results only to this official website.

Eur-Lex  , a section of Europa, is the portal to European Union law. Its advanced search screen is recommended to find particular/known treaties, international agreements, legislation, complementary legislation, parliamentary questions, preparatory acts and working documents, national transposition measures, Decisions (opinions etc) from EU courts & tribunals. Alternatively if you wish to browse, Euro-voc is "the EU's multilingual and multidisciplinary thesaurus. It contains keywords, organized in 21 domains and 127 sub-domains, which are used to describe the content of documents in EUR-Lex."


The EDC is on the ground floor of the Bodleian Law Library, near the Official Papers Collection. It has its own classification scheme. 

The EDC collection

The EDC contains the official publications of the European Communities:

Legislative process and case law*

  • Treaties, regulations, directives, decisions
  • Proposals for new legislation
  • Documents generated during the legislative process
  • European Parliament debates - now only on-line
  • The case law of the European Court of Justice

* Much of this material is also available in the Euro Comm section of the Bodleian Law Library, which is a strong collection on the law of the European Union.


  • Commission reports on all aspects of the EU
  • Council reports on institutional matters
  • European Parliament reports


  • General statistics; economy and finance
  • Population and social conditions
  • Energy and industry
  • Agriculture, forestry and fishery
  • Foreign trade


Journals and newsletters are filed at the end of each subject division.

Finding material

The EU's own website Europa, can be difficult to navigate, and so you may find it easier just to carry out an internet search to use google, adding to your search term or phrase to limit results only to this official website. If you find internet references to documents, without full text availability online, use SOLO to locate paper copies of items received in the EDC since 1988; pre-1988 material can be accessed via a card title catalogue.

If you are searching for older material, you may find indexing methods within individual publications, e.g. the Official Journal (OJ) poor. Many important items appear in issues of periodicals, which are not indexed separately. If you are looking for something in the Official Journal try using a database first, to get an OJ reference.

General subject access, using statistics, and answering broad policy questions using the EDC publications can be difficult. The classification system is different from that used in the Bodleian Law Library, and is listed on the end of the shelves in the EDC, and on a separate handout. Although broadly arranged by subject, the multi-disciplinary approach may make browsing unsuccessful. If you have any problems in finding material, please ask - it is likely to save you a lot of time.

Reference material

There is a small collection of reference material in the EDC which is mainly bibliographical. It contains some good handbooks and directories, e.g. Vacher's European Companion (shelved at EDC/EC.8.8), books on the Single Market and the European Parliament. Other materials about the EU, including general periodicals, are kept in the Euro Comm section of the Bodleian Law Library, and elsewhere in the Bodleian Library. You can identify them via the online catalogue SOLO, and most (with the exception of open access materials in other Reading Rooms) may be ordered up to the Bodleian Law Library.

The following resources will help you to identify and trace further relevant material.

Overy, P, European Union information: an introduction (2002) (Kept at Library enquiry desk)

Davies, E (ed), Eurojargon: a dictionary of European Union acronyms, abbreviations and terminology. 7th edn, 2004. (Euro Comm 450 R178a7)

Jeffries, J, A guide to the official publications of the European Communities.  Covers the period up to the end of 1979. EDC / EC.1.42

Thomson, I The documentation of the European Communities: a guide.  This continues coverage to early 1988. EDC / EC.1.5

For general information on the EU and for access to recent documents, use the links from the EU's own server Europa:

Useful documents

Europedia - website based on Moussis' Access to EU law, economics, policies
Lisbon Treaty - consolidated versions of the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union

Guides to the Bodleian Law Library's EDC which can be downloaded 

Useful websites

Current Awareness

European Union: Newsroom 
European Commission: Press release database 

Academic centres
British Institute of International & Comparative Law (BIICL)
The Europaeum
European Documentation Centres worldwide
University Association for Contemporary European Studies (UACES)

European Commission

European Commission
Commission delegations around the world
Commission representations in the Member States
Commission representation in the UK

European Parliament
European Parliament
UK Office of the European Parliament

Information networks
Enterprise Europe Network

Research centres at Oxford University
European Humanities Research Centre (EHRC), Oxford University
European Studies at Oxford University
Institute of European & Comparative Law (IECL), Oxford Faculty of Law
Oxford Centre for European History

European Studies Centre, St Antony's College 

Further information and assistance

For more information about resources for EU law generally, please see the Bodleian Law Library online guide.
You may ask any member of the Library's staff for help, or send an email to, or telephone the Academic Services Librarian on (2)71464.

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