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Turning 60, but Young at Heart, IAEA Library Offers 1.3 Million Resources

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Library users taking advantage of  print and electronic nuclear information resources. (Photo: T. Kalapurackal/IAEA)

With over 1.3 million print and electronic items in its collection, the IAEA Library, which along with the rest of the Agency, has just turned 60, continues to provide its users with the most up-to-date nuclear information resources. Its online catalogue is searchable worldwide and material can be accessed through interlibrary loan.

While focusing on nuclear science and technology, the library also offers materials on a wide range of non-nuclear topics, such as international relations, project management, personal skills development and information technology.

The library’s resources and services are not only accessible to IAEA staff and Member States’ permanent missions in Vienna, but also to participants of IAEA meetings and affiliated researchers from nuclear research institutes, governmental organizations and laboratories.

The importance of preserving and providing access to a specialized collection of nuclear information was outlined in 1957 by the IAEA Preparatory Commission, which recommended “to maintain a technical reference library on peaceful uses of atomic energy at the headquarters of the Agency”. Donated by the United States Atomic Energy Commission, the library’s first collection included some 16,000 reports, 12,000 ’micro cards’, and 100,000 catalogue cards. IAEA Member States were encouraged to contribute to this unique collection.

The IAEA Library also contributed to the development of national libraries. In 1965, it assisted in establishing a scientific library for the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), in Trieste, Italy, known today as the Marie Curie Library. Throughout the following decade, the IAEA Library provided on-the-job training in library methods and techniques through the IAEA fellowship programmes in nuclear science.

“A wide variety of researchers from nuclear related fields as well as from the legal, medical and management sectors come to the IAEA Library to take advantage of our highly specialized collection,” said Andrea Cancellare, Coordinator of the IAEA Library. “It contributes to strengthening relationships among the scientific, research and policy-making communities in our Member States.”

In 2005, the IAEA Library, together with the Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) Library, founded the International Nuclear Library Network (INLN). The network is a global forum of nuclear libraries, information centres and organizations that share similar information management and research missions. Coordinated by the IAEA Library, the network consists of 58 members from 39 IAEA Member States.

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