Celebrating 25 years of the EU legal information service online, November 2006

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Publication Date 2006
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In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the CELEX database being opened up to the public in 1981, the Publications Office organized a conference in Luxembourg on 23rd November 2006. In the presence of HRH the Grand-Duke of Luxembourg and chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Finnish Ministry of Justice, Ms Kirsti Rissanen, a number of eminent speakers reviewed the past and present of EU law online as well as offering a vision for the future. The event continued on the following day with a seminar on EU law at an open meeting of the Council’s Working Party on Legal Data Processing.

Access to EU law has come a long way since the public launch of CELEX and whatever frustrations users have with the current EUR-Lex service with its easily accessible web interface, it is salutary to consider what users had to navigate in the past. CELEX, of course, had been in existence for internal use since the beginning of the 1970s, with its origins dating back to the mid-1960s and an era of punched cards! However the drive towards the completion of the internal market raised pressure from external users for access online to legal information. Dial up connections, a huge impenetrable manual, training courses in Brussels, complex Mistral software, international telephone calls to a remote helpdesk – these were not some of our favorite things.
Technological advances however have made the life of the information provider simpler, as well as enabling direct access for the end-user. Today EUR-Lex contains over 1.8 million documents in 23 languages and is accessed 24 hours a day 7 days a week from all around the world, with an average of 175,000 users per day. Where will it be in another 25 years?

Related Links
http://bookshop.europa.eu/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/EU-Bookshop-Site/en_GB/-/EUR/ViewPublication-Start?PublicationKey=OA7606136 http://bookshop.europa.eu/is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/EU-Bookshop-Site/en_GB/-/EUR/ViewPublication-Start?PublicationKey=OA7606136

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