Ingrid Cantwell and Magnus Enzell introduce the prototype for the ELVIL 2000 Project, an Academic Portal for European Law and Politics.
The European Legislative Virtual Library project (ELVIL) was conceived at the Stockholm University library back in 1995 . The current library co-ordinator was teaching political science students the intricacies of using a telnet interface to access the Swedish Riksdag database and the thought arose that there had to be an easier way to access public information. Couldn't it all be done using the World Wide Web? A lot has happened since then but the basic ideas are still valid and the original problems are still pertinent: how can we increase the availability of public information by using the World Wide Web?
During the ELVIL project the team identified three variables of availability: access, education and communication. Access to public database had to be intuitive and user-centred. Users had to be educated about the content and role of public documentation. Since public documentation is often of a political nature there is also a need for forums to discuss the interpretation of it. The ELVIL-project was completed successfully in 1998 and was directly followed by the ELVIL 2000 project .
The general aim of the ELVIL 2000-project is to create and operate an Academic Portal to European Law and Politics. Portal, because we combined access to a number of different types of resources on the same platform. These sources could be divided into three different categories but all intended to be of a slow nature as opposed to fast information like news. The sources include public documentation and official Web sites, educational modules, discussion and work-platforms. Academic, because we believed that academic standards and principles could greatly enhance the quality of information and communication management on the Internet. The principles of selection and validation could be useful for the Internet and could also be used to a greater extent to ensure a higher degree of trust and reliability on the Internet in general.
While focusing on virtues like speed, accessibility and rapid updates it is easy to forget that the Internet offers unique opportunities for the slower practices of accumulation and reflection on knowledge in a public sphere. ELVIL 2000 is aimed at building platforms that encouraged reflexivity, and the accumulation of slow knowledge. ELVIL 2000 has now finalised its second prototype (The ELVIL-platform) and will develop models and programs for use on the platform during the next six months.
The current ELVIL platform provides:
Figure 1: European Union Encyclopaedia on the ELVIL prototype
The current prototype is now available for viewing from the ELVIL site .
For citation purposes:
Plamen Gradinarov, "ELVIL 2000", Exploit Interactive, issue 7, 2nd October 2000
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