The International Nuclear Library Network (INLN): Achievements in 2012
The availability of digital resources, of both open and controlled access, continues to grow, while subscription costs put an extra strain on the Library budget. At such times, the International Nuclear Library Network (INLN), while respecting copyright rules, offers a unique solution to participating libraries: the exchange of resources and knowledge on nuclear information management, which is the Network's core business. In 2012, the INLN steadily contributed to global nuclear information and knowledge management, and has now established a stable position in the nuclear information field. The increase in 2012 of INLN members from 35 to 42 attests to this.
Moreover, decisions taken during the 3rd INLN Members Meeting in Vienna on 5 October 2012, have established the strategic direction of the INLN, as well as paved the way towards the creation of a close-knit community engaged in the management of nuclear information and knowledge. Outreach activities suggested at the Meeting have already been undertaken. The INLN is now a member of both the Association of European Research Libraries and the Special Libraries Association. At the same time, the INLN Web Coordination Group consisting of INLN members from Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Mexico and the IAEA Library has already been established and is constantly exchanging opinions over issues relating to the enhancement of the INLN web presence and the introduction of new technologies into workflows. A draft of a Practical Arrangement, assuming no legal or financial obligation for the INLN member, but rather putting into writing the benefits and requirements of each INLN member, is currently being developed by the IAEA Library. The role and objectives of the INLN will be continuously evaluated, and the Web Coordination Group, functioning in the fashion of a Steering Committee, will put forward ideas and suggest future actions to be ratified by all members during the INLN member meetings.
As for the flow of Requests for Information (RfIs) in 2012, their substantial increase is shown in Fig. 1; 47.5% compared to RfIs traffic in 2011. In total, 398 requests were met, either by the IAEA Library or other participating libraries. Observing fluctuations, it is apparent that in 2011, the majority of RfIs were met during and after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear accident, while in 2012, the majority were met before, during and after the INLN Member Meeting in Vienna. RFIs by type are broken down in Fig. 2. As in previous years, Document Delivery Services (DDS) continue to remain the major attraction of the INLN, representing the largest share of requests. Research support service and requests for interlibrary loans still remain a strong benefit for INLN members. However, it is requests for guidance on nuclear information resource and service management, an INLN service introduced in 2011, which more than doubled in 2012, a share of 17% of all requests. In 2011, the equivalent was 7% of all requests. This marks a steady trend for the future of the INLN. It also enforces the nuclear knowledge sharing aspect of the Network, as nuclear information professionals, increasingly faced with challenges posed by the non-stop advent of new technologies and tools turn to each other for consultation.
As nuclear libraries and information centres enter a new cycle of transition, new digital information services are being introduced and a new model for library management is gradually materializing. This gives the INLN the potential to hold a strong position and offer its members both a vision and a helping hand. It rests with the members to take up this challenge.