Why a database on institutional issues?
Dorie is the acronym for DOcumentation et Recherche sur les questions Institutionnelles Européennes (Documentation and Research on European Institutional Issues).
It is part of the development of an e-administration which provides reliable processing and storage of these documents. It meets the need for a modern, efficient (it allows for fast searches and cross-searches), transparent, environmentally friendly and economical system.
Over the years the Secretariat-General, which is concerned to preserve the institutional memory of the Commission, has built up a collection of documents on horizontal institutional issues and on the intergovernmental conferences at which the founding Treaties have been revised. Some of these documents go back to the Communities' beginnings. Hitherto this collection has only existed on paper.
Until now only a handful of privileged users, mostly within the Commission, have had access to the collection.
To build up the collection, documents or document extracts of institutional interest were photocopied several times over and stored in several places, taking up metres of shelving and cupboards in the Berlaymont. From its beginnings through to the last few years, more than a million pages have been stored in this way under more than two hundred headings for different institutional topics.
These documents have been digitised in order to move from paper to electronic storage.
Dorie means that we can open up access to our collection to external users interested in institutional issues, in particular students and academic researchers, journalists, pressure groups and think tanks.
- What is Dorie?
This collection of documents of institutional interest held by the Commission is not exhaustive, but offers access to a selection of key documents and extracts on institutional issues and on intergovernmental conferences from the Single Act to the Treaty of Lisbon.
- What type of document does Dorie contain?
Dorie contains documents or document extracts such as the acts of the institutions, minutes of meetings of European institutions and bodies, press releases and newspaper articles, speeches by European leaders, written contributions to the work of the intergovernmental conferences and some internal Commission memos.
Searching the database gives access to an information sheet for each document and to the document itself, unless the text is protected under copyright law.
- Languages in the database
The database, which is designed for a specialised usership, can be searched in English and French. No documents will be translated for Dorie, which provides access to all documents in the version or versions held in the existing collection. This means that, for historical reasons, many documents (some of which date back to the early days of the European Community) are available only in French, in the case of the oldest documents, or English. Some documents are multilingual, and a few texts are available in the languages which were Community/EU languages at the time of their drafting. If the user cannot retrieve the language version they are looking for in Dorie, they may be able to find it in other databases such as Eur-Lex.
- How to search the database
Cross-searches can be used to find the positions taken by institutions or Member States during a specific period on the institutional topics listed in the directory tree.
The database can be searched using the "topic" criterion. One can also choose criteria such as document title, document type, date, body in which the opinion was expressed (e.g.: Intergovernmental Conference, IGC/Amsterdam) or the name of the author e.g. Commission/Barroso J.M.). Naturally, several search criteria can also be combined.
Help functions are displayed next to most of the search fields to help guide searches.
- A growth phase for the database
The database is still being fed.
The collection contains thousands of past documents that are gradually being digitised and analysed in order to be placed in the database.
Some 7000 documents are already available but it will take us about five years to provide public access to the full collection.
Priority has been given to processing the basic intergovernmental conference texts and documents on the following institutional topics:
* Commission/composition/number of members
* Commission/nomination/appointment/confirmation of the Commission
* Council of the European Union/Presidency of the Council
* Council of the European Union/voting – decision-making procedures/definition of qualified majority
* Council of the European Union/Voting – decision-making procedures/qualified majority
* Right of legislative initiative
* Fundamental rights/Charter of Fundamental Rights
* European Parliament/role and powers of the European Parliament
As soon as possible, new texts and recent documents that have not yet been encoded will be fed into Dorie on a daily basis.
Dorie can be accessed at the following address: http://ec.europa.eu/dorie/