The European Union: A Selective Research Guide

1 Colum. J. Eur. L. 149 (1994)

Marylin J. Raisch. Librarian of International and Foreign Law, Columbia University School of Law Library.

The aim of this Selective Research Guide is to provide research and bibliographic guidance to those engaged in European Community Law research. As such, it is merely a supplement to the several excellent, detailed guides to European Community Law research that already exist or that are in preparation. While it is necessary to take account of the Maastricht amendments and the resulting configuration of the Communities, much of the information on European Community Law research published prior to these amendments remains valid and useful in the post-Maastricht environment.

The present guide focuses on the most effective research strategies for those seeking to answer one of the following questions:
1) What are the best methods for documenting the progress of pending or enacted legislation? (Part I)
2) How can one locate all the sources on a given topic? (Part II)
3) What are the best general research guides and books available? (Part III)


In order to undertake European Community research and utilize the various guides that exist, the researcher must be aware, at least in a rudimentary way, of the institutional structures of the European Union and the decision-making procedures. Part A provides an overview of the most important institutions and of the new legislative procedure that will increasingly be encountered by researchers: the co-decision procedure.

European Community research often follows two distinct paths. The first corresponds to the situation in which one seeks to locate Community legislation from a casual reference to its subject and possibly its date of adoption. This situation will be addressed in part B, text retrieval. The second path involves tracing legislation from the time of its proposal until the point at which it eventually becomes law. Part C addresses the question of reconstructing the legislative process of enacted Community legislation, that is to say, its legislative history