News from the International Nuclear Information System
Number 10, September 2010


ILO Meetings over the Years

The consultative meetings of INIS Liaison Officers (ILO meetings) were born from a recommendation by the Advisory Committee for INIS and tasked to review INIS operations in the early years. In discussing coordination and communication between Member States and the Secretariat, the Committee recommended a more direct involvement of national Liaison Officers by providing more frequent opportunities for them to meet to discuss detailed operational questions and to exchange experiences that may lead to improved input and a more useful exploitation of the output products. These meetings could be held in Vienna or in other locations, with the possible attendance of staff from INIS headquarters. The Committee felt that meetings of Liaison Officers would be of sufficient interest that a good attendance could be expected, even if little financial assistance was forthcoming from the IAEA.

As recommended, the IAEA invited INIS members (countries or international organizations) to send their Liaison Officers to the first consultative meeting, which was held in Vienna in November 1972. It was the first of a long line of consultative meetings of Liaison Officers, which were to take place usually at yearly intervals. Over the past forty years, thirty four consultative meetings of INIS Liaison Officers have taken place, offering INIS members a forum in which to discuss past achievements as well as the challenges ahead and providing recommendations to help improve INIS operations and INIS products.

An example is the 5th Consultative Meeting of INIS Liaison Officers, which took place in November 1975. Although various operational questions were discussed, the really notable recommendation of the meeting was that the Secretariat should continue to negotiate with individual Member States and make preparations for the establishment, early in 1977, of an experimental cooperative computer network which will provide INIS centres with a facility for searching the INIS database at the Agency directly from remote locations. This was the first step towards the Direct Access Project (DAP) that would eventually enable many members to access the full INIS database on the IAEA's computer in Vienna directly from their national centres or other national locations.

Many other meetings can be highlighted, for various and diverse reasons. In 1980, INIS commemorated its 10th anniversary and the annual consultative meeting of INIS Liaison Officers was held for the first time in the new IAEA facilities at the Vienna International Centre. At the 23rd Consultative Meeting of INIS Liaison Officers, held in Vienna in May 1995, H. Blix, Director General of the IAEA, delivered the opening address. He stressed the importance of INIS, noting the obligations on the signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to exchange information. Furthermore, INIS Liason Officers celebrated together the 25th anniversary of the production of the first INIS products (May 1970).

INIS' current Mission Statement, emphasizing information and knowledge management, was approved by the INIS Liaison Officers at their 33rd Consultative Meeting in October/November 2006.

Lastly, as a direct consequence of the recommendations made by the Liaison Officers at their 34th Consultative Meeting in November 2008, a major milestone in INIS history was reached on 3 April 2009 when the INIS Database was opened to all internet users around the world. Free, open and unrestricted web based access is now available to all users interested in the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology. This open access also includes access to over 200 000 full text NCL documents consisting of scientific and technical reports and other publications.


From The International Nuclear Information System - The First Forty Years, 1970-2010 by Claudio Todeschini

Adapted by Bruna Lecossois