The Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL), founded in 1967, is the European research centre operating the most intense slow neutron source in the world. It is owned and operated by its three founding countries – France, Germany and the United Kingdom – whose grants to the Institute‘s budget are enhanced by 11 other European partners. ILL is a major player in the European neutron community networks, ENSA and FP7 (NMI3, ESFRI), working with the European Commission to establish and support R&D programs on neutron technology, networks of excellence and workshops. It is also a member of the EIROforum collaboration between seven of Europe‘s foremost scientific research organizations.
The ILL‘s mission is to provide the international scientific community with a unique flow of neutrons and a matching suite of experimental facilities (some 40 instruments) for research in fields as varied as solid-state physics, material science, chemistry, biology, nuclear physics and engineering. The Institute is a centre of excellence and a world leader in neutron science and techniques. Every year about 2000 scientists visit the ILL from over 1000 laboratories in 45 different countries across the world to perform as many as 750 experiments per year.
The ILL has a fully-functional computing environment that covers all aspects of experiment and data management; most of the tools have been running for many years and continue to evolve, but they are not shared with any other RI. All neutron data since the start of the ILL is stored. Data collected since 1995 is easily available using Internet Data Access (IDA). This service will be replaced in the near future by a new catalogue based on the iCAT project, enhancing functionality and compatibility with other RI‘s. On new instruments with very large detectors (BRISP and IN5), the traditional ILL data format has been replaced with a NeXus format, which will be rolled-out to all instruments. Standardised file formats based on NeXus, which are already compatible with the main data treatment codes at ILL, will facilitate the inter-operability of data and software between RI‘s.
The Scientific Coordination Office (SCO) has a data base of users and the ―ILL Visitors Club‖ is a user portal which constitutes a web-based interface to the SCO Oracle database. The data base (and the information stored in it) is shared by different services at the ILL through different web-interfaces and search programs adapted to their needs. The ILL Visitors Club includes the electronic proposal and experimental reports submission procedures and makes available additional services on the web, such as instrument schedules, user satisfaction forms and information for scientific committees.