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Virtual 'gateway' to information on Europe, European Sources Online, moves to Open Access

19 March 2014

European Sources Online

European Sources Online (ESO), the database and information service which provides access to information on the institutions, activities, countries, and regions of the European Union and the wider Europe, has been made a free open access service for the first time in its 25 year history.

Previously available only via subscription, the ESO's resources are now freely available to all, opening up its wealth of content on the European Union and the wider Europe to a global community.

Ian Thomson, Executive Editor of European Sources Online, and Director of the Cardiff University European Documentation Centre said: "Making ESO publicly available online is part of a wider move towards Open Access in academia, and a growing ethos of openness and sharing of knowledge.

"The ESO website includes a wide range of resources about all aspects of life in Europe, from regulatory information and political treatise, to detailed information about the countries and cultures of Europe," continued Ian. "This is a unique resource, and one which we hope will continue to inspire new and innovative research in this area."

European Documentation Centre colleagues from across the European Union are increasingly collaborating with the Cardiff EDC to create the data for the ESO website. To encourage further pan-European collaboration, the Cardiff EDC will be hosting a training course in June for colleagues from across Europe.

A further vital part of the editorial team are students from across Europe and beyond taking part in the internship programme managed by the Centre.

Janet Peters, Director of University Libraries, said: "Cardiff University is proud to host the European Sources Online information service. I think it's a great benefit to the University to be playing such a key role in this European initiative, and leading the way in providing accurate, expertly edited information, equipping researchers and policy makers with an unparalleled range and breadth of information sources focused on Europe. We know, for example, that ESO is used by the European Commission, which is a compliment indeed."

Since the switchover to free access in December 2013, ESO has already registered an increase of visits, especially from outside the UK. The number of international visits to the site has increased from 58% of the total visitors, to an average of 68% from December 2013.

Besides the UK, visitors from Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland have most accessed the service in the last two months. However, the ESO received visitors from literally around the world: Canada is within the top ten countries that most visited the service, and the USA and Australia appear within the top 20. Visitors to the site have also been recorded from China, South Africa, Mexico and India, among others.

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