A number of people have asked what impact the result of the EU Referendum in June 2016 will have on the Cardiff EDC.
In the short term there will be no impact. The Cardiff EDC is an integral part of the University Library Service (ULS) within Cardiff University and is not financed in any way by the EU itself. It is true that European Documentation Centres are a formal information network of the European Commission and we belong to an EU-wide network of about 400 EDCs. However, there is no financial dimension to this beyond the provision of some training courses offered by the European Commission and considerable co-operation between centres in the Network.
We are planning a full programme of our normal activities for the forthcoming academic year 2016-2017. We will continue to update and publish the electronic information service European Sources Online, we have a full quota of interns coming to work with us from other European countries, and we will be offering at least five evening events to engage with our users from within Cardiff University and the wider community. This is in addition to our usual enquiry and information literacy activities. We have even put a fresh set of European flags in the windows around the Guest Building (the old set had been bleached by the sun!).
Following the Referendum both those supporting ‘Leave’ and those supporting ‘Remain’ were united in saying that the United Kingdom will need to maintain close, if revised, relationships with the rest of Europe. There will still be a need to find substantive and up to date information on all aspects of Europe from a range of perspectives. Having a professional and neutral centre of European information expertise serving Cardiff University and the wider community and stakeholder interests in Wales will be even more important.
In the longer term there may well be implications (for example, we may need to rebrand). For this we are partly dependent on external factors, such as when the UK leaves and the precise nature of future EU-UK co-operation. The Cardiff EDC team have begun planning for these. Within ULS we will have preliminary discussions on a future strategy soon, and we have already had meetings with the European Commission in Wales to clarify their support for our immediate events programme.
We have led on the planning for a UK EDC Network meeting in London on 31 October 2016 to discuss the way forward. We have encouraged the British Library to take the lead on a project called ‘The European Union and the UK: Preserving the Historic Published Documents Collection’, and will play our part in this. We have communicated with our EDC colleagues in other countries and many have stressed their wish, under whatever umbrella, to maintain their contacts and collaboration with us.
Finally, one other impact of the EU Referendum – the huge number of information sources the Cardiff EDC Team have indexed on all aspects of the topic for inclusion in ESO and in our special Information Guide on the topic.
As the weeks go by and the various parties (such as the UK government, the governments of the devolved administrations in the UK, the governments of other EU Members States, the EU Institutions, plus many think tanks and stakeholders) all begin to plan for the future, the amount of relevant information published continues unabated – and the Cardiff EDC through ESO and its other activities will continue to help you all to keep on top of these important developments.