As one of the world’s largest collections of published information on the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, the International Nuclear Information System (INIS) represents an extraordinary example of global cooperation under IAEA auspices. INIS, a well-established nuclear information repository, together with its 130 member states and 24 international organizations, preserves, shares and allows open access to its valuable nuclear information resources.

Since its creation in 1970, INIS has collected more than 4 million bibliographic references to publications, documents, technical reports, non-copyrighted documentation, and other grey literature, as well as over a million full-texts. Public interest throughout the years in accessing the INIS repository has been remarkable. Currently, there are over three million searches of the INIS repository carried out annually.

In managing international nuclear information, INIS fulfills different roles. Depending on the perspective, the roles can be categorized in the following manner:

a)     Repository — a single, central location for millions of published documents on the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, safely stored and well managed;

b)     Technical — through use of modern information technology, INIS collects and shares nuclear information, while promoting automation, use of standards and best practices for document processing and information management;

c)     Pragmatic — INIS is the tool used by scientists, engineers, technicians and managers in the nuclear industry to keep abreast with developments in the subject areas covered by the INIS repository;

d)     Knowledge management — INIS is the repository for publications containing cumulative scientific knowledge in the areas of peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology as recorded in scientific journals, as well as the fulltexts of non-conventional literature (NCL), also known as ‘grey literature’, not easily available through regular commercial channels.

e)     Preservation — INIS collects and offers long-term storage for many valuable documents for present and future generations. The original microfiche-based INIS collection has been almost entirely digitized, amounting to 424 GB of data, comprising over 15.2 million pages and 302,000 electronic full-texts.

f)      Economic — saves various nuclear information stakeholders both money and effort in locating and accessing information resources;

g)     Political — INIS is proof that in an area as sophisticated as nuclear science and technology, countries with the most diverse political, social, economic and cultural backgrounds, from all corners of the globe and at all levels of technical development, can fruitfully cooperate and exchange information.

INIS provides access to trusted and hand-picked quality information processed by national INIS liaison officers, and important to the field of nuclear science and technology. Searching the INIS repository eliminates information noise generated by other general search engines, making the work of nuclear scientists, researchers and engineers easier and more efficient.

Dobrica Savić

DISCLAIMER: Any views or opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of his employer.