Parisa Pasyar | Annual Congresses of Information Science Professionals and Specialists: Keynote Speakers
The morning of 7th November, 2015, some 500 Iranian librarians and information professionals at national library were waiting for the opening session of the 1st Annual Congress of Information Science Professionals held by Iranian Library and Information Science Association (ILISA). Contrary to expectations, something bad happened. They heard a terrible news that was with great sadness. No one, it seemed, wanted to hear news like this. Everyone was shocked and in consternation. The founder of Iran’s modern librarianship and the veteran librarian Poori Soltani passed away … Her name was tied to the name of ILISA. She always described the association as a symbol for solidarity and attended ILISA gatherings and meetings. She was one of the few volunteers who supported and donated ILISA. Her eyes never left ours, and this is why the candle of the congress will light forever. So far, three annual congresses were held: The first congress was on “Information and Society: Libraries, Archives, and Museum Services”.
Needless to say that Boyd Ryvard and Barbara Tillett sent their messages to the congress as well as three keynote speakers from Iran.“Library and Information Science and Services have never been more important than they are today in our increasingly globalized information based societies and economics”. Ryvard pointed out “Nevertheless, while the field of library and information sciences and services has an essential role to play in the effective management of the ever easing global tide of information, the field faces its own special challenges. To continue to be effective it is having to adapt deeply rooted traditions of professional practice, education and research and the organizations, systems, and services in which these traditions have been expressed- to the requirements of today’s technologically complex information environment”. Barbara Tillett’s message to the congress entitled “Time for New Resource Discovery Tools in the Linked Data, Semantic Web Environment”. To her mind, what we are suffering is a truly new generation of resource discovery tools to enable users to find, to identify selection, to obtain, and navigate information they need. Discovery tools could now take advantage of Web technologies to build on VIAF and bibliographic data, as well as other web-based information… It is not just a known item search that users need, but the exploration of available recourse related to topics of interest that open up the bibliographic universe to our users.
Mohammad Abooyee Ardakani talked about creative management in information centers. He described the main role of a leader as a designer. The design is to see the delicacies in our environment so that we may add something interesting or worthwhile to what we call system. He added that for years our thought was based on an old pattern that computer center was a place where there were some computers and a library was simply a place where the books were kept. It is obvious that the main function of computer centers is content management which librarians are responsible for.
Next was Hamid R. Jamali who talked about the changes and actions of libraries and today’s users. As he provided in his presentation, some of the changes in libraries is about the users’ behaviors. In the past they did study a source deeply, but nowadays they go from a source to another. It is not the case that they consume much more time on a website or spend their time for information transactions. They refuse to use complex tools for search and avoid using the library catalogs and databases with complex algorithms. Instead, they prefer to google because it is simple and they don’t want to use their memory for learning. They want everything in their hands. When they can find everything in social media, Facebook and Twitter, they don’t seek information tools and information resources anymore. They are satisfied with a very small dose of information that can be injected very quickly. He added “to face this challenge we don’t have to change our user’s behavior and we are not expected to blame new generation for using their smart phones instead of the books and we should not ask them to behave in the way we expect.
The second annual congress was also a great event on “Open Access to Information in Citizenship Rights”. F. Khosravi pointed out the open access law which has been discussed recently in Iran Parliament and explained that it was different from Open Access Movement which had come out of Budapest and based on the idea that individuals have access to scientific information. This law deals with citizenship rights and allow people to have access to information of government and non-government organizations. All the institutions are committed to make it available for people.
Steven Harnad was one of the keynote speakers of the second congress and talked about the history of open access (OA). He described OA as free, immediate, permanent, full text and continuous access to information and talked about gold and green open access. He explained that green OA was about self-archiving of peer-reviewed research journal articles in institutional repositories and gold OA deals with the articles publishing in open access journals. As he explained, he would mind the green open access more than the other.
Then the message of Birger Hjorland was read by Rahmatollah Fattahi for the participants. “The domain-analytic approach to knowledge organization claims that no technology or system can ever provide a neutral selection of information. Certain perspectives and interests always influence knowledge, information and documents and a given system, institution, or services can always be seen as “biased” in regard to what perspective or “paradigm” is favored at the expense of other perspectives or paradigms. Therefore, information specialists may uncover different paradigms and their influences in Knowledge Organization Systems and from that basis they may negotiate different positions and provide a well-informed solution. Therefore, there will always be a need for information specialists and Knowledge Organization knowing about the “bias” of different kinds of Knowledge Organization System and retrieval systems and providing their users the best choices”.
Abdolreza Kordi from Cultural and Art Organization of Tehran announced that the first integrated urban network for libraries was launched, and since then, aged people in Tehran could get information at home without going to the libraries.
Alireza Mokhtarpoor, Iran Public Library Foundation General Director talked about MAKTAB, a plan of gathering great libraries of Iran. Also, he opened some cultural points on the Sixth Development Plan in Iran and put the stress on the school libraries. In the third year, the congress was on “Preservation and Dissemination of Written Heritage- Digital Heritage”.
Luciana Duranti was the keynote speaker of the congress and talked about Entrusting Facts to Archival Theory: Documentary Truth in a Networked Environment. She noted that trustworthiness in archival science deals with authenticity which means the trustworthiness of a document that is what it purports to be, untampered with and uncorrupted is based on identity and integrity Reliability.
Ashraf Boroujerdi, director of NLAI, talked about the contribution of NGOs in formation of the societies and their cultural heritage. She reviewed all the efforts of the government in 1997 for planning the civil society. She believed that a strong will was behind it; and before the year no attention was paid and there were many challenges for convincing politicians to make government responsible of facilities which help people develop NGOs. Ali Zarafshan from Education Ministry talked about the necessity of information literacy and media literacy in schools. He also explained about PIRLS (Progress International Reading Literacy Study) and the situation of Iranian Students. He noted that preservation of digital and non-digital heritage is a thing related to the coming generation and first of all, it is necessary for us to teach them how to use it. Now we are going to the fourth congress on LIS education in Iran. We have guests from UNIMARC committee of IFLA. Perhaps the next keynote speaker will be one of the members of the committee. Looking forward!