Chapter 3 : National Information System of Thailand

3.1 Background

Thai National Information System – ThaiNATIS was established in 1986 from the initiative of UNESCO, under the UNISIST – United Nations Information System in Science and Technology (formerly named as World Science Information Systems). In 1980 UNESCO and ICSU formed a Programme in General Information (PGI) to network the international cooperation and coordination for information resources in science and technology, social science and culture. UNISIST was set up with the objectives to improve information service, to develop professionals who are capable to coordinate and handle scientific journals system effectively. UNISIST insisted upon the support from governments to provide funds and to set up a policy that would ensure the national information system to function. UNESCO and developed countries, should assist developing countries in order to reach the objectives. UNISIST tried to help developing countries in information acquisition, human resource development, an implementation of new technology, satellite communication, and information networking to deliver the information to scientists fast and more easily as well as to reduce duplication of research projects. The system would function effectively from the following basis.

Improvement of communication systems by

  • 3.1.1 initiating surveys of national, regional, and international information services
  • 3.1.2 setting up bibliographic standards for computerization through ISO
  • 3.1.3 setting up international journal registration unit
  • 3.1.4 encouraging cooperation to control indexing languages for science and technology information
  • 3.1.5 seeking computer experts to work on standards
  • 3.1.6 considering networking for communication of scientific information

Improvement of information services

  • 3.1.7 strengthening science libraries
  • 3.1.8 improving abstracting and indexing services
  • 3.1.9 setting up an information center to evaluate journal quality

Improvement of information professionals

  • 3.1.10 encouraging authors and editors of scientific journals to be responsible for keeping journal quality
  • 3.1.11 organizing training on information services to librarians and information specialists
  • 3.1.12 national and international organizations must support research projects on information science


UNISIST performance depended upon the administration committee, therefore UNESCO established an international UNISIST committee and invited countries to join membership. Thailand became a member in 1974. And, National Information System (NATIS) was established. UNESCO provided a guideline to operate a national information system as follows:

  • National Information Policy must serve the need of the people
  • Introduce and stimulate user awareness of information
  • Promotion of reading habit
  • Assessment of users’ needs
  • Analysis of existing information resources
  • Analysis of manpower resources
  • Planning the organization structure of NATIS aiming to link school libraries, public libraries and academic libraries into one system in order to share resources
  • Supplying manpower for NATIS by library and information institutions
  • Planning the technological needs for NATIS to be able to use new technologies and to provide the international standard level of service
  • Establishing a legislative framework of NATIS by persuading the laws on printing and publishing, telecommunication networks, publications exchange, rights of information professionals appropriate to qualifications and quality of work, preservation and discarding government documents, permission to access government information and archives
  • Financing NATIS by seeking funds from UNDP
  • Universal Bibliographic Control by creating national bibliography for participation in the IFLA Universal Bibliography, and by organizing working groups to set up the international standard bibliographic description for monographs and serials (ISBD)

UNESCO also established a Regional Network for the Exchange of Information Experiences in Science and Technology in Asia and Pacific (ASTINFO)

ASTINFO objectives were to develop science and technology information work for benefiting the use of information within each country, for planning and evaluating project proposals that can implement at the regional level and not time consuming, based on existing projects that needed available resources for additional services. Thailand National Coordination Center was represented by National Research Council, and consisted of 6 associated centers namely Chulalongkorn university – Academic Resources Center, Mahidol University Library, National Library, Kasetsart University Library, Thai National Documentation Center, and National Institute of Development Administration Library. Thailand ASTINFO projects were: support to Chulalongkorn University training for staff in information storage and retrieval, and computer at Graz, Austria and a set of microcomputer with software package; establishment of Asia-Pacific Information Network of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (APINMAP) at Thai National Documentation Center; and organizing a seminar on national information policy at Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research.

ThaiNATIS or Thai National Information System was started in 1974. The Thai Government approved with UNESCO that the country did not yet have an information policy to provide guideline for planning the information works neither for public and private organizations. The 5th National Economic and Social Development Plan which was a five year national plan did not have any policy concerning information and documentation. There was a need for Thailand to develop information on all subject areas to meet the international level, and the project “National Information System” was for the first time submitted to be included in the national plan. ThaiNATIS committee tried to propose the draft national information system of Thailand to the cabinet and was approved in 1986. The cabinet was concerned on the national security issues and assigned to the Committee on National Security to examine the detail of ThaiNATIS responsibility and scope of work. At the same time, ThaiNATIS received assistance from UNESCO and UNDP to acquire funds and new technology in order to start modernizing the information service in Thailand. A committee on ThaiNATIS drafted a National Information Policy with the assistance from UNESCO to organize a seminar to open a discussion among librarians and information professionals, and Ministry of Education on behalf of the committee on ThaiNATIS submitted the first draft of Thailand National Information Policy to the cabinet. The Committee on National Security passed and approved the revised version of the National Information Policy in December 1986. The cabinet agreed and the ThaiNATIS was officially implemented on the 2nd of December 1986. The National Information Policy of Thailand was announced on the same date.

3.3 National Information Policy and National Coordinating Centers

Thailand has implemented the National Information Policy since 1986, and the policy stated the importance of the need to establish and to develop the national information system within a scope of technical information management and services to serve the needs of technical information on six subject areas with the exception of government classified information that will interfere with national security.

3.3.1 National Information Policy

The statement of National Information Policy covers following objectives:

  • accept that information is an important resource for development and institutional sources must received high level recognition
  • pay attention and allocate resources appropriately to build and to improve information system infrastructure and information services at the national level in responding with the objectives stated in the National Economic and Social Development Plans
  • promote all users of information to have access and to learn of the information regardless of locations, and to allow the citizen’s right of information according to the human rights as worldwide acceptance
  • promote and to take care and to operate information service training for all levels of users in order that they can use the information for individual self development and for national development
  • promote and to take care and to operate on human resources development for information personnel as needed
  • promote and to support the information professionals to have career path and have secure work status
  • promote and to support research to develop information systems and information services
  • promote the information cooperation and coordination at the national, regional and international levels in order to maintain the national benefit and national security

ThaiNATIS then had proposed two recommendations for the system:

  • set up an implementation plan by
    • 1.1 building linking mechanism and information coordination at the national level
    • 1.2 revising the rules and regulations and laws to facilitate the information system and related issues
    • 1.3 surveying the user needs
    • 1.4 surveying the current status of information resources and manpower
    • 1.5 planning a working strategy to further materialize the National Information Policy
  • consider additional recommendations by
    • 2.1 adding a new coordinating center on industry
    • 2.2 adding members from private sector to participating in the National Administrative and Information Coordination Committee

3.3.2 National Committee for Direction and Coordination of ThaiNATIS

National Committee for Direction and Coordination (NCDC) was appointed in 1987 by the cabinet and was chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and the National Library has been assigned by the cabinet also to be a secretariat. NCDC had completed the activities namely: ThaiNATIS report on library and information resources, setting up ThaiNATIS National Coordinating Centers and each center formed its sub- network with the aim to link their library databases online to share resources nationwide. The members of NCDC comprised:

  • Under Secretaries of Ministry of Education
    • Office of Prime Minister
    • Bureau of University Affairs
    • Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives
    • Ministry of Public Health
    • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Secretary of National Economic and Social Development Board
    • National Security Council
    • National Statistics Office
    • National UNESCO Committee
  • Chairman of the UNISIST Committee
  • Director General of Budget Bureau
    • National Intelligence
  • President of Telecommunications Authority of Thailand
  • Chairman of 6 National Coordinating Centers
  • Individual nomination from experts in the field
  • Director of National Library (Secretariat)

NCDC authorities and responsibilities

  • set up a policy and implementation plan in information services for national development
  • direct and to coordinate the activities related to national information in order to have systems of services, and disseminate information appropriate for national development and to promote organizations (government and private) on the use of information as well as to support the work
  • advise and to support the activities of the National Coordinating Centers
  • advise and to overlook proposals and requests for funds from foreign sources according to the National Security Laws of Thailand 1974
  • appoint the National Coordinating Center Sub-committees
  • perform duties assigned by the cabinet which related to the objectives of NCDC

In order to enable the ThaiNATIS to operate officially, UNISIST Committee appointed a working group to plan the activities including a proposal to UNDP for funding in the amount of 20 US dollars for 5 years. The proposal covered a budget for administration, staff and office building as well as for honorarium regarding the National Coordinating Centers meetings. UNISIST Committee also set up a Publicity Working Group.

The cabinet approved to ser up the UNISIST Committee to act as an enabler of the National Information Policy and ThaiNATIS. The name UNISIST was originally used by UNESCO Committee which later was changed from a science and technology to cover broader subjects.

The Thai UNSIIST Committee comprised members who were representatives from:

  • National Research Council of Thailand
  • UNESCO Bangkok Representative
  • Thai UNESCO Committee on Mass Media
  • Bureau of University Affairs
  • National Archives
  • Thai Library Association
  • Thai National Documentation Center
  • Specialist in informatics
  • 6 National Coordinating Centers
  • 8 experts appointed by names
  • Division of Foreign Relations, Office of Under Secretary Ministry of Education

3.3.3 National Coordinating Centers

National Coordinating Centers were established under the ThaiNATIS directing body- National Administrative and Information Coordination Committee which was chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister, and the National Library was designated as a secretariat.

For the past 20 years since the establishment of the National Information Policy and ThaiNATIS, the country has undergone a great deal of change which has also changed the organizational structure of several government departments and private offices which the libraries associated with ThaiNATIS and with National Coordinating Centers.

National Coordinating Centers are:

1.National Coordinating Center on Agricultural Sciences.

Kasetsart University Library operates a national network on agricultural information consisted of 17 agricultural libraries from the academic and from government and private organizations.

  • Name at present: Office of Library and Learning Center
  • Web site:
  • Address: P.O. Box 1084 (Kasetsart) Paholyotin Road, Ladyao, Chatuchak Bangkok 10903
  • Founded: 1948
  • Branch libraries: 26 libraries 5 campuses
  • Total collection: 3,398,124
    • Books 237,831
    • Journals and e-jpurnals 14,240 titles
    • Audio-visual 55,113
  • Content creation:
  • ICT services: OPAC and Internet
  • Online databases: THAILIS
  • Number of staff: 136
  • Budget/annual increase by per cent: 10%
President of Kasetsart UniversityAdvisory Committee
Vice President of Kasetsart University
Expert by nomination
Director of Kasetsart University LibraryChair
UNISIST representativeSub Committees
Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives libraries:
Office of Under Secretary
Department of Livestock
Department of Forestry
Department of Royal Irrigation
Department of Agriculture
Department of Land Development
Department of Fisheries (National Inland Fisheries)
Department of Agricultural Extension
Department of Agricultural Cooperatives
University libraries: Sub Committees
Faculty of Agricultural Technology,KMIT Ladkrabang
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences,Chiang Mai University
Faculty of Agricultural Sciences,Khon Kaen University
Faculty of Natural Resources,Prince of Songkla University
Faculty of Veterinary Medicine,Chulalongkorn Univeristy
Maejo Institute of Agricultural Technology
Ministry of Education
Division of Agricultural Colleges,Department of Vocational Education
College of Technology and Vocational Education
Bank of Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives Library

2.National Coordinating Center on Medical Sciences

Mahidol University Library operates a national network on medical science information consisted of 12 medical libraries from the academic and from government and private organizations.

  • Name at present: Library and Information Center
  • Address: 999 Phuttamonthon 4 Salaya, Nakhon Pathom 73170
  • Founded: 1925 as Siriraj Medical Library,1986 as Library and Information Center
  • Branch libraries: 17 faculty libraries 3 campuses
  • Total collection:
    • Books 466,902
    • Journals and e-journals 14,240 titles
    • Audio-visual 55,113
  • Content creation:
  • ICT services: OPAC and Internet
  • Online databases: THAILIS
  • Number of staff: 112
  • Budget/annual increase by per cent:
President of Mahidol UniversityAdvisory Committee
Experts by nomination
Director of Mahidol Univeristy Library and Information CenterChair
UNISIST representative
University libraries: Sub Committees
Siriraj Medical Library
Chulalongkorn Medical Library
Chiang Mai University Medical Library
Khon Kaen University Medical Library
Prince of Songkla University Medical Library
Ramathibodi Medical Library
Ministry of Defense
Army Medical Library
Ministry of Public Health
Public Health Statistical Office
Under Secretary Office Library
Department of Medicine Library
Population and Family Planning
Information Center

3.National Coordinating Center on Humanities

The National Library operates a national network on humanities information consisted of 12 libraries from the academic and from government and private organizations.

  • Name at present: Office of the National Library
    • Department of Fine Arts
    • Ministry of Culture
  • Address: Samsen Road, Bangkok 10030
  • Founded: 1905
  • Branch libraries: 17 provinces
  • Total collection: 2,348,454
    • Books 1,901,722
    • Manuscripts 352,000
    • Audio-visual 94,732
  • Content creation:
  • ICT services: OPAC and Internet
  • Online databases:
  • Number of staff: 261
  • Budget/annual increase by per cent:
Experts by nominationAdvisory Committee
Director General of Fine Arts DepartmentChair
UNISIST representative
University libraries: Sub Committees
Director of Srinakarin Wirot Library at Prasanmit
Director of Payap University Archives
Director of Silpakorn University
Library at Sanamchan Palace
Faculty of Education Library.
Chulalongkorn University
Ministry of Education
Director of National Library
Director of National Archives
Director of Thailand Cultural Center
Director of Book Development Center
Director of Culture Promotion and Dissemination
Office of Prime Minister
Director of Youth Development and Promotion Division
Director of Religious Studies Division
Private sector
Bangkok Bank Fine Arts Center
Siam Society Library

4.National Coordinating Center on Science and Technology

Department of Science Services operates a national network on science and technology information consisted of 18 libraries from the academic and from government and private organizations.

  • Name at present: Bureau of Science and Technology Information
    • Department of Science Services
    • Ministry of Science and Technology
  • Address: 75/7 Rama 6 Road, Phayathai, Rajthevi, Bangkok 10400
  • Founded: 1935
  • Branch libraries:
  • Total collection: 758,045
    • Books 68,543
    • E-journals 22 titles
    • Audio-visual 34,952
  • Content creation:
  • ICT services: OPAC and Internet
  • Online databases: 179,563 records from 21 local databases
  • Number of staff: 107
  • Budget/annual increase by per cent: 5%
Experts by nominationAdvisory Committee
Director-General of Science Services DepartmentChair
UNISIST representativeSub Committees
University libraries:
KMIT Ladkrabang Library
Faculty of Engineering Library, Chulalongkorn University
Faculty of Science Library, Chulalongkorn University
Faculty of Science Library, Mahidol University
Ministry of Science ,Technology and Energy
Director of Thai National Documentation Center National
Research Council Library
Director of Division of Environment Information and Promotion,
Office of National Environment
Director of Division of Energy Policy and Planning, Office of National
Energy Secretary of the Secretariat of the Office of Atomic Energy
for Peace Foreign Relations, Office of Under-Secretary
Director of Division of Scientific and Technological Information,
Department of Science Services
Ministry of Commerce
Director of Patents and Trade Marks Division
Ministry of Industry
Secretary-General of Industrial
Standards Office
Director-General of Department of Industrial Promotion
Private sector
President of Thai Industry
President of Engineering Society of Thailand
President of Thai Science Society of Thailand
President of Thai-Japan Technology Promotion Association

5.National Coordinating Center on Economics

Bank of Thailand Library operates a national network on economic information consisted of 15 libraries from the academic and from government and private organizations.

  • Name at present: Library and Archives, Bank of Thailand
  • Address: 273 Samsen Road, Sam Praya, Pra Nakorn Bangkok 10200
  • Founded: 1946
  • Branch libraries: 3 (Chiang Mai, Khon Kaen, Had Yai)
  • Total collection:
    • Books 40,000
    • E-Journals and journals 1,100 titles
    • Audio-visual 6521
    • Archives material 2,850 c.ft
  • Content creation:
  • ICT services: OPAC and Internet
  • Online databases: 174,083 records of local databases
  • Number of staff: 59
  • Budget/annual increase by per cent: Not available
Deputy Governor of Bank of ThailandAdvisory Committee
Experts by nomination
Head of Library and Archives, Bank of ThailandChair
UNISIST representativeSub Committees
University libraries:
Faculty of Economics Library, Chulalongkorn University
Faculty of Economics Library, Thammasat University
Director of Library and Information Center,
Dhurakitbandit University Office of the Prime Minister
Director of Education and Development Dissemination,
National Economic and Social Development Board
Director of Publicity and Service, Board of Investment
Head of Statistics and library, Budget Bureau
Ministry of Finance
Librarian of Office of Economic Finance
Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives
Librarian of Office of Agricultural Economics
Ministry of Commerce
Director of International Trade Information Network Center
Ministry of Industry
Director of Division of Industrial Economics
Private sector:
Librarian of Bangkok Bank Library
Librarian of Thailand Development Research Institute
President of Thai Chamber of Commerce
Head of Business Information Center, Stock Exchange of Thailand

6.National Coordinating Center on Social Sciences

National Institute of Development Administration Library and Documentation Center operates a national network on social science information consisted of 15 libraries from the academic and from government and private organizations.

  • Name at present: Library and Information Center NIDA
  • Address: Anek Prasong Building, 118 Seree Thai Road, Bangkapi, Bangkok, 10240
  • Founded: 1966
  • Branch libraries:
  • Total collection:
    • Books 255,533
    • E-Journals and journals 168 titles
    • Audio-visual
  • Content creation: Thai Newspapers and periodicals indexing databases
  • ICT services: OPAC and Internet
  • Online databases: ThaiLIS, special subject databases
  • Number of staff: 57
  • Budget/annual increase by per cent:
President of NIDAAdvisory Committee
Experts by nomination
Director of Office of Development DocumentationChair
Deputy Director of Office of Development Documentation
UNISIST RepresentativeSub Committees
University libraries:
Director of Academic Resources Center,
Chulalongkorn University
Director of Thammasat University Library
Director of Chiang Mai University Library
Director of Ramkamhaeng University Library
Director of Sukothai Thammatirat Open University Library
Director of Prince of Songkla University Library (Pattani)
Office of Prime Minister
Librarian of National Statistical Office
Librarian of Civil Service Commission
Director of Information Service Division,
Secretariat of House of Parliament
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Director of Information and Library Division,
Office of Under-secretary
Ministry of Science, Technology and Energy
National Research Council of Thailand
Ministry of Interior
Head of Labor Information Center, Division of
Technical and Planning, Department of Labor
Private sector:
Librarian of Industrial Finance Corporation of Thailand

3.4 ThaiNATIS five year Action Plan

ThaiNATIS started its five year action plan in 1987 by setting the activities and time-frame which covered:

  • 1.surveying of information resources, working manuals, manpower, equipment and systems, and laws, rules and regulations
  • 2.building the information system network, standards and new working manuals, specialized subject vocabulary and computer system
  • 3.developing sub-systems such as union list of serials and serials clearinghouse
  • 4.drafting and revising laws, rules and regulations such as library law, expansion and upgrading of information institutions
  • 5.developing human resources by professional training and study visits and continuing education
  • 6.publicity through mass media, pamphlets and brochures, meetings for executives and staff at practical levels
  • 7.financing by seeking aids from possible funding sources and donors

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