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The European Documentation Centre

The British Library at St Pancras is one of about 40 European Documentation Centres (EDCs) in the UK. European Documentation Centres were established by the European Union in 1963 to support study, teaching and research. They contain the official publications and documents of the institutions of the European Union.

Collection overview

The collection at the British Library includes:

  • European Union reports and policy documents from the past ten years
  • The Official Journal of the European Union L and C series from 1974 to the present, covering legislation
  • Commission (COM) documents on microfiche, 1983-2002, covering proposals for new legislation; subsequently available online or on CD-ROM
  • Access to Eurolaw (online database of legal materials in full text)
  • Statistical material from Eurostat

Read our guide to European Union collections at the Library.

The EDC is located in the Social Sciences Reading Room at the British Library's St Pancras Building and is available to all pass holders. Specialist reference support is available via the Enquiry Desk. If you would like to use the centre, please see our registration pages for information on how to obtain a reader's pass.

The British Library has received all EU material since 1966 and holds some documentation dating back to the early days of the European Economic Community in the 1950s. These historic collections are held off site, but documents from them are available for consultation in the Reading Room at 48 hours notice.

Users can also get access to the British Library's complementary holdings of books, reports and journals from all over the world, which provide comment on, and analysis of, European issues. Recent material is kept on the open shelves in the Social Sciences Reading Room.

Finding EU publications in the British Library at St Pancras

Reports and policy documents issued by EU institutions over the past ten years can be found in the Social Sciences Reading Room arranged by subject in Dewey Decimal Classification order. This scheme will be familiar to users, as almost all public libraries use it for their non-fiction stock. Older material is kept in off-site stores, and will need to be requested. Please allow two working days for delivery.

To locate European Union publications in the Library, please use the Integrated Catalogue.

Key Publications Available in the Reading Rooms
Official Journal of the European Union. L Series. Legislation Class mark: (P) AP 60(E) - E(4)

Official Journal of the European Union. C Series. Information and Notices Class mark: (P) AP 60(E) -E(5)

Official Journal of the European Union. Index Class mark: (P) AP 60(E) -E(6)

From 1 July 2013, thanks to Regulation (EU) No 216/2013, the electronic version of the Official Journal of the EU is authentic and produces legal effects. It consists of the official compendium of EU legislation (L series) and other official documents of the EU institutions, bodies and agencies (C series and its supplements). It is published every day from Tuesday to Saturday and can be found on the new Eur-Lex website.

General Report of the Activities of the European Union Class mark: (P) AP 60(E) -E(12)
Online from 2005 . For earlier electronic editions, please consult the EU Bookshop 

Bulletin of the European Union Class mark: (P) AP 60(E) -E(11)
Publication ceased with no.7/8 2009. Issues for 1996-2009 are available on the archived website.

Commission (COM) Documents on microfiche 1983-2002 in cabinet
Online from 1989 at Eur-Lex. Preparatory documents, together with other documents of the European institutions of possible public interest, may also be accessed from this page.

Further information

Social Sciences Reference Service
The British Library
96 Euston Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7412 7894
Fax: +44 (0)20 7412 7761

E-mail: Ask the Social Sciences Reference Team