Nuclear Power: International Nuclear Information System on the Internet
Levine, Emil, Online
The International Nuclear Information System (INIS), the world's largest database for nuclear science, is now freely available on the internet (http://inis db2.iaea.org), following a successful pilot test involving 10 member states. Its producer, the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), announced the free access on April 3, 2009 (www.iaea.org/inisnkm). Although some might be tempted to call this the "proliferation" of nuclear information, that term is normally related to the spread of nuclear weapons or the technology to develop them. The INIS database, according to its editorial policy, covers the peaceful uses of nuclear science.
INIS is created from bibliographic records and full-text documents submitted by INIS centers in member states, documents created by the IAEA, and bibliographic information purchased from scientific publishers. The INIS secretariat staff is now producing more than half of the database from material received from Elsevier Science, the Institute of Physics Publishing, the American Institute of Physics, and others. The INIS database began in 1970 in response to the IAEA's mandate "to foster the exchange of scientific and technical information on peaceful uses of atomic energy." It is advertised as the "leading worldwide reference database for published scientific literature on the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology."
Currently, INIS membership includes 120 member states and 23 international organizations; its database contains more than 3 million bibliographic records/references and abstracts of journal articles, scientific and technical reports, conference papers, books, patents, theses, laws, regulations, standards, and web documents, in 63 languages. This includes a unique collection of more than 850,000 NCL ("non-conventional 'grey' literature") reports in full text.
WHY PUT INIS ON THE WEB
Deputy Director-General Yury Sokolov, head of the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy, explained the background to the announcement at the meeting of the INIS liaison officers in Vienna, Austria, Nov. 3--5, 2008, when he said, "A nuclear information infrastructure will be an important element of (new) national nuclear power programmes."
Sokolov projected the growth of nuclear power plants and a doubling of present nuclear capability worldwide through the year 2030; he noted that about 50 countries have informed the
IAEA of intentions or interest in creating new facilities during this period. This includes approximately 20 new countries. "The accessibility of the INIS database should not be exclusionary. Locking content up behind a subscription wall prevents INIS from being visible to its potential user community."
All member states agreed to unrestricted free use (except China and Brazil), which will provide access after the registration of users within their countries.
PRODUCTION OF THE INIS BIBLIOGRAPHIC DATABASE
INIS bibliographic information is processed within the 120 member states using the Friendly Inputting of Bibliographic Records (FIBRE) system. Records must be from journals and NCL published within the member state, thereby avoiding duplication. These bibliographic records are submitted primarily in electronic format to the INIS secretariat in Vienna, where they are further processed as part of an extensive quality-control system.
The INIS Expert System analyzes input records and compares indexing terms and subject categories against those previously entered into the database. Anomalous records are flagged for additional checking by subject specialists. Records are then manually corrected.
Computer-Assisted Indexing (CAI) software from Convera has significantly increased productivity by suggesting indexing terms for documents created by the IAEA and those purchased from commercial organizations. Since May 2008, CAI has been made available by remote access to INIS inputting centers.
The Metadata Extraction Tool (MET) has automated creation of INIS records from full-text documents. It reformats content based on INIS bibliographic rules, and the resultant records are further checked by the INIS bibliographic records personnel.
Subject content of the database is more diverse than one might expect from something labeled "nuclear information"--life sciences comprises 17%; elementary particle physics 15%; nuclear power and safety 13%; nuclear physics 11%; atomic, molecular, and condensed matter physics 10%; nuclear materials 9%, engineering and instrumentation 9%; economic, environmental, legal, and safeguards 8%; and fuel cycle, waste, and radiochemistry 7%.
INIS NONCONVENTIONAL LITERATURE
INIS nonconventional literature consists of approximately 850,000 reports and accompanying bibliographic records prepared by inputting centers. Until 1997, paper documents received from member states were converted to microfiche through a conventional photographic process.
Most of the NCL is now scanned by member states and sent electronically. (This is in contrast to 1998 when more than 500,000 pages were received from member states and scanned by the unit. This number has decreased each year as member states obtained the capability for scanning.) Still, a significant amount of material is scanned from paper, especially for retrospective conversion of IAEA material.
About half of the NCL database remains in microfiche format. More than 200,000 reports have been digitized and converted by optical character recognition (OCR) to PDF, and these can be immediately downloaded directly by users. A retroconversion process of all microfiche is expected to be completed by the end of 2010.
NCL DOCUMENT DELIVERY
Before 1997, this gray literature was ordered by letter or facsimile. Duplicate microfiche were produced weekly and mailed to customers. Since that date, documents have been disseminated on CD-ROM, by email, or downloaded directly by the user. A requested document on microfiche is scanned to PDF by the INIS secretariat staff and delivered over the internet. Document delivery that previously took 3 weeks in 1996 now takes less than 3 minutes.
Since 1999, document delivery centers have been established in 72 INIS member states. This caused an exponential increase in the use of INIS NCL by nuclear scientists around the world. Annual document delivery increased from a few hundred before 1999 to thousands afterward. Some of this service was provided without charge for users within the member state or region.
In 2008, INIS had more than 1.9 million users. Free access was provided to INIS member states' inputting centers; to permanent missions to the U.N. IAEA in Vienna; to selected users, such as nongovernment organizations belonging to INIS; and to approximately 400 universities. This number will undoubtedly increase with the web as a platform. A detailed online user manual and an online tutorial (in English and Japanese) support user training. The INIS secretariat also conducts periodic training for member state input centers.
The INIS retrieval engine was derived from BASIS, originally developed by Battelle Memorial Institute in the 1970s, with enhancements oriented toward searching a scientific database developed from worldwide sources and languages. The user can make Boolean selections from multiple fields using a choice of algorithms, for example: TITLE = EXACT PHRASE Waste Management AND COUNTRY=USA OR UK. The user can select display and output formats. Searches can be limited to those bibliographic records that are linked to NCL, and documents are downloaded immediately. The full text of the more than 200,000 reports that have been digitized and converted by OCR (in multiple languages) can be searched.
On the free web version, the first screen to meet your eye has a simple search box, with a check box to limit to full text and options to display 1, 10, 20, or 50 results. Phrase searching is not implied--a multiple-word search without punctuation is construed as an OR operator. Underneath the search options are recent statistics and predefined searches. Clicking on these executes a search on that topic.
The advanced search option offers pull-down menus for Boolean operators (AND, OR, and NOT) among fields and for search terms (Any, All, Phrase, In order, Equals, and Does not equal). The pull-down menu for the available fields reveals many sophisticated alternatives. You can also limit by when the database was updated.
Results are displayed by title. Click on the plus sign to see the full record. Descriptor terms are hyperlinked, another way to refine your search. Users can also design their own display output using the My Profile option, and searches can be saved and run as a current awareness query.
INIS contains documents in 63 languages. The database is in English, although some metadata (Titles, Abstracts) are also available in the source language. The user can select between search interfaces in German, Japanese, English, Portuguese, Arabic, and Spanish.
Digitized NCL are converted by OCR to machine-readable full text, which can be searched in the Latin, Cyrillic, Chinese (simplified), Japanese, and Korean alphabets. Tests are being conducted for Arabic, Armenian, Thai, and Hebrew.
The online (Energy Technology Data Exchange) EDTE/INIS Joint Thesaurus supports multilingual searching. This thesaurus provides English equivalent terms from French, German, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and Arabic. A search of terms in these languages displays the English terms used in the database and the term details (broader/narrower terms and scope notes).
FUTURE OF INIS
Ruth Hahn-Weinert discussed the future of INIS at the November 2008 meeting of the INIS liaison officers. She noted that a modern nuclear information system had three key drivers as operational models: free access, quality content, and web technology. Since that meeting, free access has become a reality.
Changing requirements are being identified in users studies conducted by both the secretariat and the member states. China, Japan, and the Latin American/Caribbean region recently conducted surveys that show user preferences by subject categories, types of documents, classes of users, and other variables. For example, China indicated its highest interest was in chemistry, and all three groups of users selected journal articles as the preferred type of document. The results of these and future studies will support continual quality content for the nuclear information database.
Ruth Hahn-Weinert is the acting section head of the INIS and Nuclear Management Section and head of the IAEA Library. She transferred to the IAEA from the library and archives of the United Nations Office at Geneva in 2006. Since November 2008, the INIS unit, which consists of two groups, has been lead by Dobrica Savic, who has served in various U.N. organizations for 23 years.
The content management group, under Alexander Nevyjel, is responsible for subject analysis and quality control of IAEA publications and electronic records obtained from publishers and member states. All subject specialists have advanced degrees or work experience in their area of responsibility. Seyda Rieder manages the database production and imaging group. Database production includes review and validation of member states' bibliographic and full-text input, maintenance of journal authority lists, and production of the INIS bibliographic database. The database is currently being converted to XML from an ISO 2709 format.
The imaging group is responsible for imaging of nonconventional literature, digital preservation of IAEA publications, quality control of material submitted by member states, conversion of INIS microfiche to digital format, and multilingual OCR of all NCL. (Included in the section is the nuclear knowledge management unit, under Yanko Yanev, which works closely with INIS and is responsible for developing policy, methodology, and guidance for nuclear knowledge management and maintenance and preservation of knowledge in specific areas of nuclear science and technology. The unit provides periodic training for nuclear facilities in the preservation of their documentation and management of nuclear knowledge.)
Web Technology and the Expanding Nuclear Information Network
INIS is expanding its access to both IAEA internal and external links. These include the following:
Nuclear Science Abstracts (NSA) Database Users of INIS now have a direct link to the Nuclear Science Abstracts (NSA) Database. NSA is a comprehensive collection of approximately 1 million international nuclear science and technology bibliographic records dating from 1946 to 1976. It includes scientific and technical reports of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, the U.S. Energy Research and Development Administration and its contractors, and other agencies, universities, and industrial and research organizations. It is the precursor of the Energy Science and Technology Database. This database is made available through the INIS website in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Scientific and Technical Information (DOE OSTI), the database owner. As in INIS, the database includes full-text documents in PDF (currently about 3,000 are planned for retrospective scanning and conversion).
Integrated INIS and IAEA Library
INIS and the IAEA Library have been organizationally linked within the IAEA structure. The library has implemented a federated search engine that simultaneously searches the INIS database, the IAEA Library catalog, the IAEA Waste Management Database, and selected nuclear science journals. This capability is currently limited to IAEA staff members. An International Nuclear Library Network, which links nuclear libraries in member states, is being developed under the guidance of the IAEA Library. In 2009, this network will grow to 22 libraries (from 10 in 2007). Projects will include cross-catalog searching, shared (copy) cataloging, and open access.
INIS maintains partnerships with 23 international organizations. Closely related to the mission of INIS is the International Energy Agency (IEA) Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDE)--INIS and ETDE members have access to both databases. Other significant partnerships include the International Centre for Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI), Russia; the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), U.S.; and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Emil Levine (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an American library and information science consultant living in Vienna, Austria.
Comments? Email the editor (email@example.com).
Subject content of the database is more diverse than on might expect from something labeled "nuclear information." Fuel Cycle, Waste and Radiochemistry 7% Nuclear Power & Safety 13% Elementary Particle Physics 16% Engineering & Instrumentation 9% Nuclear Materials 9% Nuclear Physics 11% Atomic, Molecular and Condensed Matter Physics 10% Life Sciences 17% Economic Environmental, Legal and Safeguards 6% Note: Table made from pie chart.…
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Publication information: Article title: Nuclear Power: International Nuclear Information System on the Internet. Contributors: Levine, Emil - Author. Magazine title: Online. Volume: 33. Issue: 4 Publication date: July-August 2009. Page number: 31+. © 2009 Information Today, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2009 Gale Group.
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