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CIRCA: Communication and Information Resource Centre Administrator


Posting information online, while useful, does not harness the true potential of the Internet. It is the ability to form communities, collaborate and interact that gives added value. CIRCA provides this service for Europe's administrations by allowing interest groups to build collaborative workspaces where they can share resources and work together remotely over the Internet or other networks.

Last update: 02/2007

What is CIRCA?
CIRCA (Communication and Information Resource Centre Administrator) is a simple and effective groupware, developed by the European Commission under the IDA Programme. It is a web-based application providing online services that offer a common virtual space for Workgroups, enabling the effective and secure sharing of resources and documents. Its architecture is based on Open Source Software. It has been widely used by the EU public administrations since 1996. It is also a generic service (including help desk, assistance and training services) operated by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Informatics (DIGIT) to support the work of the numerous EU committees.
CIRCA aims to provide an information management environment, groupwork facilities and customer support services. It is constantly developed further to meet growing user requirements.
How does it work?
CIRCA provides Interest Groups with a private web workspace to collaborate on common objectives and tasks. These Interest Groups can access the same set of functionalities, but only members of that specific group can reach the information and functionalities in the private workspace to which they have authorised access. CIRCA services cover:
  • Information pages;
  • Document library;
  • News groups;
  • Users directory;
  • Contact services;
  • Meeting space;
  • e-mail.
Any given group can fully customise the collaborative environment and profit from its linguistic features. The user interface currently is available in five languages (German, English, French; Spanish and Portuguese); other languages can be added thanks to the translation editor provided by CIRCA.
  • CIRCA has been running for several years as an IDA generic service and it is used by the majority of IDABC sectors and by more than 30 Directorates General of the Commission. This represents a population of more than 75,000 registered users spread over around 2100 interest groups.
  • More than 70 national administrations have received a free licence and use it for their own needs.
Who benefits?
Public Administrations
EU committees that are established for the implementation of EU policies; Projects of Common Interest (PCIs) under IDABC …:
National administrations that wish to foster their online administrative communication and streamline their information management.
The role of IDABC
CIRCA is managed and financed by the IDABC Programme. CIRCA relies upon a steering committee which comprises the main European Commission's Services involved in the CIRCA service: Eurostat (the Statistical Office of the European Communities) and DIGIT. DIGIT is responsible for the development and hosting of the application and provides helpdesk and support.
Technical information
Project start date           
Project status                    
Operational as a generic service
Responsible service         
Steering Committee, chaired by Directorate General for Informatics (DIGIT 
Project coordinator          
Jean-Marie Weissenberger
Countries involved           
All EU Member States
CIRCA Forum                    
Available download for CIRCA software
The building instructions are not available for the moment, but will be provided in the near future.
The development of CIRCA started in 1995 and used mainly the PERL scripting language. The CIRCA application will be maintained and supported by DG DIGIT until Mid-2008.
To port its functionality to a new OSS platform, it was decided to develop CIRCABC as a new project. CIRCABC aims to ensure a sustainable evolution of CIRCA. The CIRCABC groupware will enhance the performance of CIRCA in terms of capacity, security, availability and interoperability. Its user interface will be available in 23 languages. Moreover it will be adapted to the needs of people with disabilities. It will be available for Administrations, Businesses and Citizens.
CIRCABC is expected to:
  • Guarantee continued support and hosting for a multilingual "pan-European Expert Meeting Place" to facilitate interactions between Administrations, Businesses and Citizens.
  • Ensure the long-term sustainability of the service to the whole IDABC community; create interoperable environments using open standards for integration of the tool with existing systems; improve accessibility of information to people with disabilities; develop multilingual features; support strong security and authentication mechanisms, encryption facilities and possibility for trusted exchanges and certificates.
  • Offer Administrations, Businesses and Citizens a collaborative software package at no licensing cost, under licence EUPL V 1.0. For more information on EUPL, please visit OSOR.EU
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