In the formative years of the European Communities, which later evolved into the European Union, documents had a relatively informal status.
Many papers presented at conferences or meetings will have been circulated previously, but the discussions are generally only summarised at a later date and are unlikely to be publicly available.
As working papers generally relate either to the legislative process or to policy development, they are frequently allocated multiple references, depending on the context, and this can cause confusion., both of which provide information in all official EU languages.
However, administrative processes and translation can often cause considerable delays in access, and some documents are never made public.
This article aims to clarify some of the distinctions between different categories of working documents and provides details of some of the databases and collections that are essential for research into the workings of the European Union.
Continuing the theme of mandible dislocation tricks (protecting your thumbs, post-reduction stabilization), Dr.