The decentralised information strategy upon which the International Nuclear Information System (INIS) was established has stood the test of time. INIS celebrated its 25th anniversary during 1995. One of the world's early international computerised systems, INIS was born in 1970 with its mission to produce and disseminate a database containing records of the world's literature on the peaceful applications of nuclear science and technology, and full text of non‐conventional (grey) literature. Since that time, the INIS Database has grown to over 1.8 million bibliographic records and abstracts. It continues to increase by approximately 85 000 records each year. Additionally, INIS generates full‐text microfiche of approximately 20 000 non‐conventional literature documents each year as well as a number of other information products and services. As of 1976, INIS could be considered the world's most comprehensive abstracting and indexing service in the field of atomic energy. Ninety‐four Member States (countries) and 17 cooperating international organisations currently participate in INIS. A decentralised operational philosophy is at the core of the information strategies of the organisation. INIS is, in effect, an international information cooperative made up of members who are the contributors as well as the benefactors of the system. Participants get a return on their information investment: member countries who publish and therefore contribute a few records have access to the collective 85 000 records submitted annually by all members, as well as to the full database. One of the major advantages of decentralisation is that it tends to stimulate the establishment and improvement of an international information infrastructure, as well as the transfer of modern information technology. Systems such as INIS, which capitalise on information technology transfer, information skills development and the use of standards for information management and exchange, have contributed to paving the way for the global information highway envisioned today. The INIS decentralised global information management strategy has stood the test of time and will be critical in the future information industry. INIS will embrace the changes necessary to remain in the forefront of the information society.
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