From the way they offer and package data, information providers have to keep abreast with the advances in technology. And so does the International Nuclear Information System (INIS), a project operated by the IAEA in collaboration with 128 countries and 24 international organizations.
Since its inception in 1970, INIS has continually offered new ways to access its immense database. In 1991, the database was made available on CD-ROM, and in 1998, on the Internet. The IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy is ensuring that the INIS database, along with all its Departmental news, is today freely available on iPhone and Android devices, searchable via Google.
In August 2013, the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy released an innovative smartphone app called NE News. The application gives users access to all the newsletters, brochures, and social media channels of the Department, in addition to the INIS database. Free and easy-to-use, NE News was well received at the time of its launch, but it was only available to iPad users.
However, 80% of customers own either an iPhone or an Android, and those users have made themselves heard. On both the Twitter and Facebook channels of the IAEA, users publicly made requests for NE News to be converted to their smartphone of choice.
Responding to user feedback, the developers in the Department's Nuclear Information Section have redeveloped the app to function on both the iPhone and on Android devices, with new improvements.
One such improvement is the screen resolution scalability. Because there exist dozens of phone models that support the Android operating system, special care was taken to ensure that NE News would look prominent no matter the device. From the tiny 4.3-inch display of the Sony Xperia to the 6.4-inch screen of the Samsung Galaxy Mega, NE News boasts a sleek, size-appropriate resolution.
Another notable improvement is the screen rotation mechanism. On the Android version of NE News, users can either choose to browse the app's brochures and articles in the landscape or portrait mode. These, in addition to other changes, have been introduced to make the browsing experience for students, researchers and international stakeholders more user-friendly.
The app also includes privileged access to the Department's Internet Collection Search (ICS), an advanced search engine, developed in-house by the Nuclear Information Section, with access to over 3.6 million of bibliographic records.
Finally, changes have been made to ensure that the INIS Collection is now entirely searchable through Google.com and Google Scholar. The inclusion of the INIS Collection in Google.com represents a remarkable achievement in the 45-year history of INIS, and is a huge step in bringing this collection of nuclear related publications closer to our global audience.