Sources and methodology

The methodology adopted for the digital research corpus and subject file is based on the traditional methods associated with human and social science while also incorporating new approaches and innovative digital tools to underpin research and valorisation activities. The methodology particularly refers to the following instructions, notes to authors and guidelines:Revue d'économie financière, Journal of Common Market Studies; Revue européenne d'histoire; General Guidelines and Peer Review Criteria for NINES Content; Guidelines for Editors of Scholarly Editions, Modern Language Association, Manhattan, NYC, 29 June 2011; Lipgens, Walter (ed.), Documents on the History of European Integration, De Gruyter, Berlin/New York, 1985. This methodology will ensure that all the component elements of the digital research corpus and subject file meet the appropriate standards of academic rigour for the topic.


The structure of each publication will offer a simple, concise, specific description of the subject matter. The purpose of this structure is to help users find their way around the various themes and sub-themes dealt with in the corpus or subject file and to access the collection of documents and texts easily. It contains between four and five levels and sub-levels.

The document sources consulted and used are:

  • relevant, in other words able to offer documents related to the subject;
  • wide-ranging. This is assessed based on (i) the nature of the source (collections of legal texts, diplomatic archives, private archives, databases, etc.); (ii) the interdisciplinary dimension; (iii) the geographical coverage of the sources consulted; (iv) the language(s) of publication;
  • reliable, in other words the documents must be able to be precisely identified (title, author, date, place of publication, etc.);
  • original, based on the quantity of original and previously unpublished texts included.

The documents selected from these sources vary in type. They include primary resources (digital versions of Community, international or national texts as well as related preparatory work), and they may also include related, or secondary, sources, such ascommentaries to provide context and legal analysis (extracts from biographies, publications or academic articles), oral sources (audio recordings or filmed interviews), images, diagrams, etc.

The selection and production of documentary sources is designed to serve the research work contained within the digital corpus and to shed light on the explanatory texts that make up the subject file.

The selection process was based on a preliminary assessment of over 9 000 documents archived by the CVCE.This has been consolidated by consulting some 30 diplomatic archive collections (Belgium, Germany, the European Union, High Courts, etc.), around 12 private archive collections, over 40 online databases on European political leaders, 200 autobiographical and biographical publications, etc.