eurlex R package reduces the overhead associated with using SPARQL and REST APIs made available by the EU Publication Office and other EU institutions. Compared to pure web-scraping, the package provides more efficient and transparent access to data on European Union laws and policies.
You can use
eurlex to create automatically updated overviews of EU decision-making activity, as shown here.
Install from CRAN via
The development version is available via
Michal Ovádek (2021) Facilitating access to data on European Union laws, Political Research Exchange, 3:1, DOI: 10.1080/2474736X.2020.1870150
eurlex package currently envisions the typical use-case to consist of getting bulk information about EU legislation into R as fast as possible. The package contains three core functions to achieve that objective:
elx_make_query() to create pre-defined or customized SPARQL queries;
elx_run_query() to execute the pre-made or any other manually input query; and
elx_fetch_data() to fire GET requests for certain metadata to the REST API.
elx_make_query takes as its first argument the type of resource to be retrieved (such as “directive” or “any”) from the semantic database that powers Eur-Lex (and other publications) called Cellar. If you are familiar with SPARQL, you can always specify your own queries and execute them with
elx_run_query() executes SPARQL queries on a pre-specified endpoint of the EU Publication Office. It outputs a
data.frame where each column corresponds to one of the requested variables, while the rows accumulate observations of the resource type satisfying the query criteria. Obviously, the more data is to be returned, the longer the execution time, varying from a few seconds to several hours, depending also on your connection. The first column always contains the unique URI of a “work” (usually legislative act or court judgment) which identifies each resource in Cellar. Several human-readable identifiers are normally associated with each “work” but the most useful one tends to be CELEX, retrieved by default.
# load library library(eurlex) # create query query <- elx_make_query("directive", include_date_transpos = TRUE) # execute query results <- elx_run_query(query)
One of the most useful things about the API is that we obtain a comprehensive list of identifiers that we can subsequently use to obtain more data relating to the document in question. While the results of the SPARQL queries can also be useful for web-scraping, the function
elx_fetch_data() makes it possible to fire GET requests to retrieve data on documents with known identifiers (including Cellar URI). The function for example enables downloading the title and the full text of a document in all available languages.
This package nor its author are in any way affiliated with the EU, its institutions, offices or agencies. Please refer to the applicable data reuse policies.
Please consider contributing to the maintenance and development of the package by reporting bugs or suggesting new features.
elx_run_query()now strips URIs (except Eurovoc ones) by default and keeps only the identifier to reduce object size
elx_fetch_data()is used to retrieve texts from an html document, it now uses by default
rvest::html_text(). This is slower but more resembling of how the page renders in some cases. New argument
html_text = "text2"controls the setting.
elx_make_query(..., include_court_origin = TRUE)retrieves the country of origin of a court case. As per Eur-Lex documentation, this is primarily intended to be the country of the national court referring a preliminary question, but other countries are present in the data as well at the moment. Recommended to interact with court procedure
elx_make_query(..., include_original_language = TRUE)retrieves the authentic language of a document, typically a court case
elx_make_query(include_... = TRUE)are now properly named
elx_make_query(include_citations_detailed = TRUE)retrieves additional details about the citation where available; the retrieval is currently slow
elx_make_query(include_directory = TRUE)now retrieves the directory code instead of URI
elx_make_query(include_proposal = TRUE)retrieves the CELEX of a proposal of a requested legal act
elx_make_query()no longer include previous versions of the same record (new versions typically fix incorrect or missing metadata)
elx_fetch_data(type = "notice", notice = c("tree","branch", "object"))now mirrors the behaviour of
elx_download_xml()but instead of saving to path gives access to XML notice in R
elx_download_xml(notice = "object")now retrieves metadata correctly
Guide to CELEX numbers: https://eur-lex.europa.eu/content/tools/TableOfSectors/types_of_documents_in_eurlex.html
List of resource types in Cellar (NAL): http://publications.europa.eu/resource/authority/resource-type
NAL of corporate bodies: http://publications.europa.eu/resource/authority/corporate-body
Query builder: https://op.europa.eu/en/advanced-sparql-query-editor
SPARQL endpoint: http://publications.europa.eu/webapi/rdf/sparql