About European Sources Online

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is ESO?

European Sources Online [ESO] is a free-access database and information service. It aims to support users in understanding Europe and beyond. It brings together a comprehensive and curated set of sources and information, which are able to inform people holding different levels of expertise.

Ever since its launch, ESO has been developed to work as a bridge between users and the evolving realities of Europe, as well as the ever more complex relations between the Continent and the other regions of the world.

What are the key features of ESO?

The database allows users to keep up to date with the latest developments concerning Europe, its countries and regions, its communities and institutions. It offers an expert selection of information on a variety of relevant topics from a very wide range of information sources – primary and official sources, commentary and analyses, summaries and media reports, journal articles, blog posts, monographs and academic textbooks, among other resources. Whenever possible, links to the full content of the sources are provided. Alongside the links, the ESO team will often prepare an overview providing the context or an introductory explanation to the issue covered by the sources listed.

ESO also offers its own set of information guides. These aim to assist users in understanding a particular European reality or issue, policy or institution by offering them an overview outlined by our team of experts. It also features a set of useful sources for further information to those interested in digging deeper into the subject. This set of standalone products is constantly expanding and the ESO team is open to consider suggestions from users on potential new guides.

Thirdly, the information service provides a weekly email alert feature, which allows subscribers to receive a reminder of any relevant content added to the database in the subjects, countries or organisations they are interested in.

How does ESO work?

The database features a collection of individual records, which provide access to thousands of expertly selected sources. These may be well-known or less well-known websites, documents and publications from any relevant stakeholders – from regional and national governments to supranational institutions (like the European Union), from think tanks to research centres, from recognised publishers to emerging information projects.

Records are divided into three different categories:

  • Bibliographic Records – Records featuring one source only, justified by their in-depth analysis or their length. Textbooks, monographs, in-depth reports and other major publications are expected to feature in these records. Bibliographic information and overview of content is generally provided.
  • Mixed Records – Records featuring both a leading source and a set of related sources adding to the information provided by the main one. These records are subject to update as new developments, sources and/or information arise. In these records, the ESO team recognises the existence of an authoritative source relating to the relevant policy, document or issue that deserves to be highlighted as the leading ‘Source Link’. Bibliographic information and an overview of the policy, document or issue are generally provided.
  • Dynamic Records – Records featuring a set of relevant sources, which together build a comprehensive insight into any relevant issue. The ESO team does not recognise any leading source on the topic. The team also develops an overview on the issue. These records are subject to update as new developments, sources and/or information arise.

The easiest way to use the database is by using the simple search option, prominently displayed on the homepage. This search any title and content containing the keywords inserted by the user. Alternatively, the Advanced Search option can be used – it allows users to search by Title, by Author, by Series Title as well as Keyword. Furthermore, searches can be filtered by country, region or international organisation.

The new version of European Sources Online also offers access to the archive relating to different fields within each record. This is particularly relevant for Subject Tags and Subject Keywords. Some of these features are still subject to further development by the ESO team and potential improvements to some functions relating to tags and keywords have already been identified.

How often is ESO updated?

Content is selected on a daily basis by the ESO team. Records can be created and added to the service, or existing records can be updated with further developments or information as required. These are immediately accessible on the database and can be easily accessed through the Homepage, in the Latest Records section.

We aim to revise and update the Information Guides on an annual basis and new ones are created according to feedback from users, needs identified by the ESO team and resource availability.

Who will find ESO useful?

ESO is designed to help a very wide range of users to find information with a European dimension. Key users are citizens, students, researchers, academics, librarians, information specialists, government officials, policymakers, NGOs, corporate and professional organisations.

Can’t I find all this information for free on the web?

We all use a variety of services and techniques to find information. General search engines are undoubtedly useful, as they offer users all the sources potentially available on a given topic. However, ESO goes further, offering its users a dedicated European information service through expert selection, a wide range of sources and coverage, together with added value content.

Ultimately, the ESO team aims to support users in navigating through the overload of available information, using its expertise to select those sources deemed credible and useful and putting them together in one coherent set. This will add to an expertly drafted narrative whenever needed, providing an often needed introduction or overview.

Who adds content to ESO?

The database and information service are hosted and managed by the European Information Hub at Cardiff University. The ESO Executive Editor is Frederico Rocha, the Hub’s European information specialist.

The core ESO team based at the Hub makes sure the service is updated and developed on a daily basis. However, valuable contribution to the development of the database is also provided by a number of librarians and information specialists spread across Europe. The Hub would like to thank the longstanding cooperation and support of our extended team of experts based at the British Library, Zagreb University (Croatia), Sapienza University of Rome (Italy), Francisco de Vitoria University (Spain), Ca’ Foscari University of Venice (Italy), Estonian National Library, Milan University (Italy), and Tartu University (Estonia).

Please contact the ESO team if you wish to become an ESO contributor.

Whom do I contact for further information about ESO?

For editorial enquiries and technical support, feedback or suggestions for content, as well as training assistance, please contact the ESO team by email: eso@cardiff.ac.uk.