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NEW at the MZES:
The Archive for Information on Textual Sources - QUIA

Günter Braun und Hermann Schwenger

Supplementing the research archive EURODATA (data files, statistics), QUIA will provide (meta-)information on textual sources for comparative research on Europe and the problems of European integration

In June 1997 the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES) established a new division in its infrastructure: the Archive for Information on Textual Sources (Quellen- und Informationsarchiv: QUIA). Comprising a part of the library and supplementing the research archive EURODATA (data files, statistics), QUIA will provide (meta-)information on textual sources for comparative research on Europe and the problems of European integration. QUIA’s main task is to support the internal research done by the members of the MZES. Although it can neither offer special services to individuals from outside the Centre, nor can it take on assignments, still, some general information as to textual sources should be made available externally. For this reason, a short presentation of QUIA, its main goals and present activities follows.

The documents to be listed are either published or unpublished sources from such institutions and organizations as can be considered a part of the political process in the broadest sense, for example:

  • organizations which take part in forming and developing a political opinion (parties, interest groups, etc.)
  • institutions which take part in the political decision-making process (parliaments, cabinets, etc.)
  • institutions which implement political decisions (ministries, administations, etc.)
  • institutions and organizations which fulfill paragovernmental functions (social insurance, Caritas and other associations).

The fact that the documents are archived or publicized must be proven, and their accessibility to researchers must be ascertained. This information should be made available in an adequate on-line computer form, as well as be published in part. To this end QUIA will publish research manuals and establish the required on-line service in the Internet.

The list of sources dates primarily from post-1945. Only in special cases will sources since the 19th century be listed. The main geographical emphasis (as is the case with EURODATA) is on Western Europe and the Central European countries: Poland, Czech Republic, Slovak Republic and Hungary. In a few selected areas, as yet to be determined by the management, QUIA will also have the task of establishing its own collection of sources. A few examples of this are the expansion of the collection of party programmes as well as the collection of textual sources on comparative research on trade unions, parliaments and welfare states.

Within the framework of these general functions, one of QUIA’s main tasks is to establish and keep up to date a reference library providing information in regard to textual sources as well as organizations/institutions which produce, archive, publish and distribute appropriate texts (handbooks, archival guidebooks, inventories, bibliographies, research documentation, journals, magazines, newspapers, etc.).

QUIA’s documentalist and librarian is presently establishing a reference library covering the archives, libraries and documentation centres in Western and Central Europe. In addition to general supranational directories, guides to certain important documentation centres (e.g. IISG <Amsterdam>, KADOC <Leuven>, AMSAB <Gent>), national archives (France, United Kingdom, Italy, etc.) as well as detailed inventories of individual organizations (ICFTU, ETUC, PSOE, UGT, DGB, etc.) have been acquired.

A further main task of QUIA includes the systematic documentation of meta-information on sources as a result of QUIA’s own research. This entails the analysis of the reference library as well as of on-line information and the acquisition of information through correspondence and personal contacts. The most important information will be made available as part of a user-friendly database. Within this framework QUIA will publish its own handbooks and offer on-line information for external users as well.

The first task of this kind to be tackled is the research manual/on-line service "Trade Unions in Europe. Organizations, Archives, Research Institutes. A Guidebook for the Social Sciences".

The goals of this project are:

Firstly, to provide basic information (address, organizational structure, membership, congress dates, affiliations, etc.) on the most important trade union organizations in Europe.

Secondly, to list their archival and printed sources (statutes, activity reports, congress minutes, etc.) as well as their regular publications.

Thirdly, to present archives, documentation centres, specialized libraries and research institutes dealing with the field of research "Trade Unions/Industrial Relations in Europe", and

Fourthly, to list relevant literature (archive guidebooks, inventories, bibliographies and standard literature).

An effort will be made to provide a representative sample, which will include the ETUC and the European Industry Committees, and will focus on the National Union Confederations in Western and Central Europe, but also take into consideration certain influential national unions in important branches.

The basis for both forms of publication are two ProCite databases. One covers organizations (unions, archives, libraries, research institutes), the other one sources and literature. On-line, both databases are linked together, thus enabling a variety of search possibilities.

Dr. Günter Braun,
Hermann Schwenger
D-68131 Mannheim
Tel.: 0049(0)621-292-1728/1727 (G. Braun/H. Schwenger)
Fax: 0049(0)621-292-1723
E-mail: Gü, Hermann.Schwenger

Dr. Günter Braun is political scientist and works as a researcher at the MZES. Currently he is writing a guide to information on trade unions in Europe.

Hermann Schwenger is documentalist at the MZES and responsible for the reference library and the collections of QUIA. He is co-author of the guide to information on trade unions in Europe.