European Association of Libraries and Information Services on Addictions

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The European Association of Libraries and Information Services on Addictions (ELISAD) – previously called, until end of 2011, European Association of Libraries and Information Services on Alcohol and other Drugs – was a European non-governmental and non-profit making social network of libraries, documentation centres and information services situated in Europe and specialised in alcohol, drugs, tobacco and all other behavioural addictions.[1]

Aims and tasks[edit]

ELISAD’s key purpose was to provide those working in the field of drug, alcohol, tobacco and other addictions information with a network for exchanging knowledge, ideas and sharing experiences.

ELISAD's tasks were:

  • To promote the role of libraries and documentation centres as important means for communicating research findings to different audiences.[2]

ELISAD organises an annual conference each year on topics relevant to information, research and documentation and addictions. It provides a mailing list for members to exchange information about new books, meetings and other resources.


Following meetings in 1988 Lyon, France and 1989 Stockholm, Sweden of European librarians, documentalists and information professionals working in drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, it was recognised that there was a need to set up an association to enable the exchange of experiences, skills and knowledge. Annual meetings were felt to be a way of meeting this need, with the formal establishment of Elisad in 1990.[4] Jasper Woodcock, Head of the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence, UK – that became DrugScope in 2000 – was elected as Elisad’s first President.[5]

Many existing library associations were models and encouraged the Elisad foundation:[4]

Over the years the annual conferences have covered many subjects.

In 1999, at the annual ELISAD meeting at the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) in Lisbon, presentations focused on the growth of information about addictions on the World Wide Web and raised concerns about the quality and accuracy of such resources. Presenters also found that their searches were producing thousands of results because addictions encompasses various research disciplines, including health, social sciences, medicine, law, politics, psychology, neurosciences, toxicology, and so on[6]

In 2000, at the annual meeting held in Prague, Czech Republic, ELISAD members issued their Ethical Charta[7] to stress the fundamental importance of ethics in the field of drug information.

In 2002, at the annual meeting held in Bremen, Germany, given the national and international emphasis on provision and need for high quality and accurate information on drugs and other addictions, ELISAD members issued the Bremen Declaration.[8] This declaration supported the need for high quality information whilst drawing attention to the deterioration of financial support for specialist addiction libraries across Europe.[6] A response from ELISAD on this was to consider how they could contribute to the need for high quality resources and this resulted in funding from the European Commission[9] to develop an internet portal on addiction resources from 32 countries in Europe.

Between 2003 and 2005 members of ELISAD developed the internet portal on addictions. This online European Gateway on Alcohol, Drugs and Addictions,[10] provided descriptions of and links to evaluated European websites and other Internet resources on the use and misuse of drugs covering 32 countries.[11]

From 2005 to 2007, a second development phase of the European Gateway was completed, again funded by the European Commission.[12] The Gateway was updated and provides descriptions and links to more than 1100 evaluated websites on addictions, and is searchable in 17 languages.[13] Visitors to the site can search for information on education and prevention, treatment, policy and research, find resources in their own countries or abroad and identify other European organisations of interest.[14] The central challenge for this project was the language barrier within the different EU countries and considerable work was done on standardising the terminology[15] among European countries and on the taxonomy used within this gateway.

More recent annual conferences have focused on how to address the problems many libraries and information services encounter due to the expansion of drug information on the Internet and the impact of finances being reduced. Their themes are :

  • Addictions information in the Google era: dealing with challenges,[16] Brussels, 2007
  • Addictions information: Designing the future, Turin, 2008[17]
  • Addictions in society: what information services contribute, Budapest, 2009[18]
  • European ATOD[19] libraries in challenging economic times, Utrecht, 2010[20]
  • Monitoring information on addictions - Sources and tools, Paris, 2011[21]

In 2014 Elisad ceased existence and has joined with Substance Abuse Librarians and Information Specialists, an international association for those working in libraries and documentation centres on addictions and substance abuse.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Elisad is listed/described in many directories, especially in: Meinhold Alexandra (2010). World guide to library, archive, and information science associations, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions. De Gruyter Saur, p. 46-47. ISBN 978-3-11-022637-9. [1]
  2. ^ European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (October 2008). National drug-related research in Europe, Selected issues series, Lisbon, p. 25. [2]
  3. ^ European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (2007). Guidelines for the evaluation of treatment in the field of problem drug use: a manual for researchers and professionals, p. 61. ISBN 978-92-9168-279-9. [3]
  4. ^ a b Posters presenting Elisad’s 20 years history, 2008
  5. ^ In DrugLink (Nov./Dec. 1992) p. 4
  6. ^ a b Goodair, Christine; Moen, Jorunn; Prepeliczay, Susanna; & Rouault Thomas (2005). “Collaboration across Europe: Experience from practice”. In Libri, International Journal of Libraries and Information Services 55, 225-230. K. G. Saur Verlag, ISSN 0024-2667. [4]
  7. ^ Ethical Charta
  8. ^ Bremen Declaration
  9. ^ European Commission DG Health: [5]. Retrieved 2012-03-20
  10. ^ European Gateway on Alcohol, Drugs and Addictions
  11. ^ Savva Susan (May 2004). ”Launch of a new European information resource”. In Addiction, 99(5) 657–659. [6]
  12. ^ European Commission Executive Agency for Health and Consumers, [7]. Retrieved 2012-03-20
  13. ^ National Documentation Centre on Drug Use, NDC Newsletter (2007) 3(5)
  14. ^ New addictions resource for professionals and researchers across Europe launched online [8]. Retrieved 2012-03-20
  15. ^ Goodair, Christine & Welsh Anne (2008). “Information retrieval and terminology”. In Addiction 103(4) p. 695. DOI: 10.1111/j.1360-0443.2008.02150.x. [9]
  16. ^ European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. General report of activities (2007), p. 44 [10]
  17. ^ Some lectures of the meeting
  18. ^ Some lectures of the meeting
  19. ^ ATOD is the acronym of : Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs
  20. ^ Some lectures of the meeting
  21. ^ Some lectures of the meeting