Science and technology information in Thailand: policies, strategies and provision

2007-07-12T13:38:05Z (GMT) by Narumol Ruenwai
The aim of the research was to investigate the current state of scientific and technological (S&T) information service provision in Thailand with a focus on its role of supporting research and development. The ultimate goal of the research was to develop a service model(s) which could aid the modernisation of the S&T information service. The information policies and strategic management at national and institutional levels were examined together with present and future roles in service provision and barriers to S&T information development. The research framework was constructed on the basis of theoretical models of the provision and management of effective information services. The institutions which participated in this research included 46 academic and special libraries in Thailand, hereafter called S&T information centres, and two funding agencies. The data were collected using a variety of research tools, employing both quantitative and qualitative methods, namely, questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups. The questionnaires were distributed to five groups of respondents: executives, managers, librarians or staff, end-users, and executives or policy-makers of funding agencies. Two hundred and eighty-nine questionnaires were sent by post to 45 S&T information centres and two funding agencies whilst 703 questionnaires were also distributed to end-users. Interviews were performed with 55 executives and library managers. Three focus groups were organised on different topics, with a total of 36 participants. The major findings showed that national information policy in relation to S&T information was still relatively ineffective with roles and responsibilities of stakeholders not explicitly identified. In general, the results showed that institutional information policies exist but weak communication between executives, managers, and staff caused problems with implementation and interpretation. Most S&T centres were found to have strategic plans. The focus of these were on issues of integrated ICT infrastructure, acquisition of electronic resources, service improvement, communication with users and feedback, user education, cost effective use of resources, E-library transition and knowledge sharing. The development of resource sharing via computerised networks was considered to be paramount; progress to date was thought to be slow due to a lack of policies at national and institutional levels. Users’ information literacy was still found to be an issue, particularly in respect of making effective use of electronic resources. The thesis provided recommendations for a national network for S&T information provision to be designed and managed by a hosting provider.