INIS News

News from the International Nuclear Information System
Number 9, June 2010
ISSN 1819-9186

 

Visibility on the Web

The vast array of information available on the World Wide Web has increased tremendously over the past 10 years, driving an exponential growth in internet usage to locate information. At the same time, finding the right, trustworthy sources of information has become more and more challenging. This is particularly true in the field of peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology, given the sensitive nature of the information requested.

Even an internationally established information source such as the International Nuclear Information System (INIS), which provides access to reliable and trusted information on the peaceful uses of nuclear science and technology, including full texts of non-conventional literature, needs to ensure its visibility to better reach potential end users.

In order to achieve such visibility, a combination of offline and online promotion efforts are necessary. And the INIS Secretariat has implemented several initiatives to bettter accomplish that objective.

One important step was making the INIS Database freely available to internet users around the world, which the Secretariat completed last April 2009. The importance of making the information in INIS more easily accessible is increasingly recognized, especially as more countries continue to express interest in using nuclear power. Now, more than ever, there is a need for reliable and trustworthy sources of information on nuclear energy and the information INIS offers comes from reliable sources such as the national atomic energy authorities in Member States.

Since launching the world wide free online access to INIS in April 2009, INIS? visibility has greatly increased and its usage has augmented by a factor of 10, going from 7.000 hits in April 2009 to 70.000 in December 2009.

Another important factor which has helped improve INIS visibility, and therefore its usage, is INIS? inclusion in the World Wide Science (WWS) website; INIS has become one of the resources searched within WWS.

Studies have shown that a high percentage of internet users find web sites through inbound links from other web sites. Inbound links indicate the popularity of a website. Search engines often use the number of backlinks that a website has as one factor to determine the website?s search engine ranking. Inbound links therefore help increase the visibility of a web site. A survey conducted in October 2009 showed that the number of inbound links from national INIS centre web sites to the INIS web site and/or to the INIS Database web site is relatively modest. The topic was discussed at both the INIS Training Seminar in November 2009 and at the 12th INIS/ETDE Joint Technical Committee meeting in October 2009. In both events, Member States were encouraged to introduce inbound links from their web sites to the INIS web site. To facilitate this, the INIS Secretariat will be supporting this activity by developing an INIS search widget which it will make available to national INIS Liaison Officers.

A more recent count of the number of inbound links to the INIS web site and/or to the INIS Database web site was over 500 links. This includes links from web sites of national atomic energy authorities, universities, laboratories, directories, and others.

Publishing articles about INIS, in printed or electronic scientific and technical journals, and including their respective input into the INIS database would certainly positively contribute towards increasing INIS visibility. A survey conducted amongst the 20 countries which participated in the INIS Training Seminar in November 2009 has shown that the number of this type of input in the INIS Database is very modest.

Flyers, posters, and newsletters are distributed with the aim of highlighting the free availability of INIS on the web as a reliable information source. News items on the IAEA and on the INIS web sites have been placed, encouraging users to benefit from this valuable pool of information in the field of peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology.

Summary

Having the INIS Database on the web does not mean that it is visible to potential end users. We need to dramatically increase INIS visibility, by pursuing different approaches both offline and online, thus ensuring that the wealth of information that the INIS Secretariat and the Member States produce and maintain is known to potential users. One of the less expensive and most recommended ways to improve website visibility is through inbound links from other web sites. Therefore, national INIS centres are strongly encouraged to establish inbound links from their web sites to the INIS Database hosted at the IAEA website http://inisdb.iaea.org/.

Taghrid Atieh