Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Research Priorities Setting for the National Library and Archives of the Islamic Republic of IRAN

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Research Priorities Setting for the National Library and Archives of the Islamic Republic of IRAN

Article excerpt

Introduction

Prioritization is an ongoing procedure, not only among organizations but in various aspects of life and society. What make prioritization different is its methods and approaches adopted for each aspect. The area that is subject to prioritization is the concern of a group of individuals usually referred to as "beneficiaries". They may benefit from the results of the prioritization project or have particular expertise or command on the subjects in question which, consequently, makes priority setting of a considerable significance for them. Therefore, prioritization should be performed by those who have sufficient knowledge and insight about the related areas with great decision-making capabilities. Prioritization executives should be able to accurately identify the groups of experts and beneficiaries and prepare the ground for their efficient and planned involvement in the prioritization process; as "eliciting the public's experience or knowledge is a form of research that can be viewed as objective study of individual experience". (Workshop on methods for setting research priorities, 2012, p.5). Thereby, it is necessary to adopt a systematic objective approach, if possible, that seeks to achieve consensus and balance among various groups and beneficiaries. Usually, it is individuals with the necessary expertise, knowledge, and insight in the target domain that partake in the evaluation, decision-making, and prioritization of important organizational affairs. According to the Statute law of the National Library of Iran (1990), it is an educational (scientific), research, and service institute under the direct supervision of the President (Statute law of the National Library of Iran, 1990). Additionally, it has a research and representative council titled the Deputy of Research, Planning, and Technology, whose research departments are as follows:

1. The Research and Education Administration with three research groups: Iranian and Islamic Studies, Library and Information Science Researches, and Information Technology Researches;

2. The archives Research Center with such groups as Archival Research, Maintaining Records, and Contemporary History of Iran.

In accordance with the missions and duties, the National Library and Archives of the Islamic republic of Iran (henceforth NLAI) is charged with the responsibility of playing a model and authoritative role in information discovery, collection, organization, preserving, and dissemination of national intellectual productions, in a way that the reading culture is promoted and access to resources is facilitated for today's and future generations (Statute law of the National Library of Iran, 1990).

Considering the progressive evolution in NLAI from a traditional library and information center to a digital network-based one, the following points give grounds for the need to conduct research in this area:

· Resolving existing problems and difficulties;

· Coping with new environments and modern technologies in the digital information era;

· Adopting new roles and functions; and

· Improving the quality and quantity of services and performances.

The present study being part of NLAI research strategy development project, aims at investigating and determining the relevant research areas and priorities for the adequate, concentrated, and systematic distribution of resources in conducting research.

Research priority setting at a glance

Research is defined as "a process used to collect and analyze information to increase our understanding of a topic or issue" (Creswell, 2012, p. 3). The driving force behind conducting any kind of research is a "sense of curiosity" about phenomena and their causes. Babbie (2008) uses the term "human inquiry" for it and indicates in his work that "human inquiry aims at answering both "what" and "why" questions, and we pursue these goals by observing and figuring out" (p.5). More often, the existence of a "problem" or a "difficulty" creates a research "need". …

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