European Survey of Information Society


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At the beginning of 1997, ISPO, the Information Society Promotion Office of the European Commission had launched a project called ESIS (European Survey of Information Society), with the objective to build an Inventory of projects as well as to assemble European data concerning promotional activities undertaken by public authorities and private actors, be they European, national, regional or local. Other aims were to monitor and to analyse new regulatory developments in the field of telecommunications and Information Society as well as to present a mapping of the actors, notably the public or private network facilities offering Information Society infrastructure, services and applications.

Due to the success of this project and following several requests from local actors, it has been decided, in particular at the 3rd EU/CEEC (Central and Eastern European Countries) Information Society Forum that took place in Brussels on October 9-10, 1997, and at the Euro-Med Net 98 Conference which took place in Cyprus on March 4-7,1998 to extend ESIS to Central and Eastern European and Mediterranean countries and territories.

The extension of the project started in March 1999 and will last until 2001. It is called ESIS II and concerns 25 countries and areas of the Central, Eastern European and Mediterranean countries. The work is performed in a decentralised manner. For each country and following an open call for tenders, contractors have been selected by the European Commission to perform the work at national level. A Project Management Support Team is in charge of the co-ordination and promotion of the project as well as the centralisation and synthesis of the data and reports.

The core of the ESIS II initiative is an inventory of Information Society projects. These are by definition interactive projects with a societal dimension that use innovative technologies of information and communication and provide remote access for a wide range of purposes. Each national contractor will collect information about such projects in his country through questionnaires distributed to project promoters (also available on the website). The data collected are fed into a database together with a ‘who’s who’ - mapping of actors. A dedicated search engine allows the public to access the on-line database from various angles. Every three months, the inventory of projects will be updated.

Besides the Inventory, additional reports will be published. These will cover the following subjects:

These reports and syntheses per area are now available and can be found on the ESIS website. They will be updated on a regular basis, next time in October.

In this framework, ESIS II aims to become:

ESIS II is carried out under the general co-ordination of ISPO and will be conducted in close association with DG XIII’s department for international aspects of information society and telecommunications (IS 2).

As a reminder, the role of ISPO, which was created in 1994, is to support, promote and orient private and public actions in the field of the information society. It has 5 key functions: a user-friendly information service interface; a catalytic brokerage action; awareness raising; demonstrations sharing experience and highlighting best practice, promoting co-operation with an international dimension.