Chapter 6 : Conclusion and Recommendations

A survey by Nick Moore was based to form an outline of this study because it covered the important aspects useful for the analysis of the current status of the National Information Policy of Thailand. As we need to describe the earlier stage of the Policy and the situation which has changed a great deal through the period of a few decades. Information works had progressed from library and information network into the age of Internet and now into the knowledge-based society. Findings from this study give more detail description of the implementation of the National Information policy of Thailand. Conclusion and recommendations are planned to draw from perspectives and viewpoints of the involved parties through meetings among focus groups to be organized in December 2007 and in January 2008.

It is difficult to discuss a status of National Information Policy and not to confuse with the definition of the term “information policy” between the two contexts. Nick Moore used the term “information policy” to mean ICT while National Information Policy focused broader meaning on library and information services. A result of the analysis however tried to provide background and information on library and information aspects for perceiving the true picture of the status of the National Information Policy of Thailand.

6. 1 Status of the National information Policy according to Nick Moore’s outline

6.1.1 Overall policy and coordination
By surveying the libraries’ websites in 2006, results
showed that most libraries have set up policy and
framework and measures to achieve the policies.
This means that university libraries, school libraries,
public libraries, national libraries and special libraries
have established the policy according to the overall
policy of their parent organizations.
Results from the interviews with ThaiNATIS coordinating centers, all have written policy
document which covered organization’ vision and mission, administration structure,
and development plan. All centers planned operational strategy in according with the
National Economic and Social Development Plans. It must be noted that the National
Plans for the first time included a short statement on the country’s need of library and
information service in the 9th Plan. Library policy was based more on the National
Education Act 1999 (NEA).
The 10th Plan focuses on Thailand development as a knowledge-based society.
6.1.2 Telecommunications infrastructure: network
development, role of public and private sectors,
pricing policy, universal access and regulations.
The National Information Policy was implemented in 1986 when Internet was not available.
However, the third statement in the policy specified that action was important to deliver
the information to all citizens regardless of locations, religions and races.
The first service of the international network was introduced by the Telecommunications
Authority of Thailand in 1992, Thai libraries benefited from new technologies that enabled
communications for large digital information and data quickly and securely for every one
in society. Chulalongkorn University and Kasetsart University were the pioneers in providing
online databases from overseas services. Chulalongkorn University was the first to subscribe
to Dialog, and Kasetsart University started from online access to FAO Agris Database at
cost. Although it has been possible to access information resources from the international
networks, it was unaffordable for most users because the cost of telecommunications was
too high, and librarians who performed the online database searching did not have enough
searching experience to handle the service. Internet was introduced in 1999 to libraries,
and Chulalongkorn University set up the Internet service at Academic Resource Center.
Libraries entered the movement towards the implementation of automation for the library
system. All university libraries have been computerized using the commercial integrated
library system. A number of other libraries: special libraries, school libraries and public
libraries then began using computers, and it has been accepted that modern libraries
must be equipped with computers and Internet. Universities are linked through UNINET,
while special libraries are linked with GITI Network and other gateways.
6.1.3 The information sector: content, delivery,
and processing
(content creation and access
provision, network services, computing and
research consultancy)
From surveying the activities of the National Coordinating Centers, a rough picture of
information sector can be described although the more complete status in these areas
is needed.
Agriculture
Kasetsart University has developed agricultural databases which covered the international
and national information. The university participated and contributed the information resources
from research projects and technical papers to AGRIS of FAO.
Economics
The Bank of Thailand provides economic and financial information in electronic and printed
forms to the public.
The Library compiles bibliographic databases of journal indexes and document delivery
services to the public upon requests. Integrated OPAC search provides linkage with OPAC
of 10 libraries in Thailand and abroad.
Humanities
The National Library is in charge of the National Bibliography. There are digital library project
of ancient manuscripts for national preservation.
Medicine
Mahidol University has served as a major source of Thai medical journal index from online
databases with access to a number of digital full-text articles. Mahidol University actively
joined the International Network on Health and Medical Sciences
Science and technology
Department of Science Services produces regularly the database of Thai journal indexes and
also provides SDI service on strategic subjects for research community, business
entrepreneurs and the public.
Social sciences
NIDA Library and Information Center produces continuously indexing database service on
social sciences.
NIDA is a World Bank Depository Library, and is IFLA Depository Library. NIDA is
a member of IFLA and ALA. The Thai newspapers, periodicals indexes have been success
stories and pioneered by NIDA Information and Library since 1986. In 2006 the databases
serve the public with growing records of 323,300.
6.1.4 Information and organizations: public
and private enablers and enabling policies

(e-government, e-commerce, laws and regulations,
digital signature)
Law on e-Commerce
Electronic Transaction Law 2002
MICT Standard on Information Security 2007 (ISO/IEC17799-2005)
Computer Crime Protection Law 2007
Data Protection Law 2007

Ref: Thaweesak Koananthakool
www.nectec.or.th/cicc/download/01-keynote-speech.ppt
6.1.5 Information in society: social use of
information and overcoming the digital divide

(measures concerned with provision and use of
information by individual, citizens, and consumers)
Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand 1997
Article 40 declared the equal right of all citizens to access the quality of basic education
(12 years in schools) provided by the government for free. The government educational
administration must cover by law the participation from local and private sector.
The vocational training by professional institutions of private sector under government control
should be protected by law.
The National Constitution 1997 did not specify clearly the services for handicapped people to
access the information. The Constitution said in Article 55 that disabled and handicapped people
have the rights to receive the public facilities and assistance from the government by laws.

There have been the projects on ICT for the disabled and handicapped under NECTEC. Tools are
created to facilitate the people who have problems in their vision and hearing. National Standards
on web creation was drafted by Ministry of ICT and NECTEC require government websites provide
web accessibility for people with handicapped and less opportunity as well as those who live in
rural provinces.

A project OLPC or One Laptop Per Child was initiated from cooperation of Massachusetts Institute
of Technology-MIT, Suksapat Foundation and ThaiCom Foundation to experiment the use of the
product OLPC in the Northern villages of the country. The aim of the project is to provide low cost
computers for students in remote areas with little access to ordinary desktops, laptops, electricity
and telecommunications. The project also aimed at introducing new ways of community learning
on local knowledge management as well as opening the opportunity for the community to share
knowledge with other communities through ICT.
6.1.6 Legal and regulatory framework:
intellectual property right, data protection,
access to official information (censorship)
Official Information Act 1997

Thai Library Association established national standards for all types of libraries based on
international standards. The standards have been used as framework and guideline for
operational plan, with a set of indicators for library performance evaluation and assessment.

There was no law that would enable a promotion nor support from parent organization to require
that libraries must follow the standards. There is a need for library law in order to set up strategic
plan with specific description on duties, authority, for promotion, for protection and to take care
of library profession as well as to provide social security funds for librarians and information
profession.

The Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand 1997
Chapter 81 stated the country must have the National Education Act in order to provide learning
opportunity for working to earn living and with ethical moral. The constitution declared that
educational system must serve the economic and social development need of the country,
while the people have trust in democracy under the constitutional monarchy. The government
must support research in all subject disciplines: science and technology, creating local contents,
arts and national culture. The country must invest in information infrastructure in order to provide
access to the information for all.

The National Education Act 1999
was set up in corresponding with the constitution. Under the National Education Act Chapter 25
stated that the government must promote and support building up lifelong learning of all forms
namely libraries, museums, art galleries, zoos, parks, botanical gardens, science and technology
parks, sports and recreation centers, as well as learning centers.

The National Education Act 1999 the issued the ministerial regulations which are related to quality
assurance of libraries and learning centers, and quality control system for educational technology
materials and supplies.

There is no specific law on libraries and information institutions in Thailand. There is law on
publishing which has been implemented since 1941 and copyright law since 1994. These are the
only laws that applied to the work of libraries. Publishers must give 2 copies of publications to the
National Library, and recently it is required that 50 copies of government publications must be
deposited to the National Library. Violation to the laws receives a minimum fine though there was
no severe punishment as the National Library has no authoritative power to monitor.
6.1.7 Skills and competencies: information
literacy, general information handling skills,
information specialists (ability to identify needs,
search, use, evaluate and assess with skills for
professional database management and services)
As mentioned in the previous chapter that information literacy problems have been recognized
in the educational institutions and actions have not been implemented seriously in working
environment. For information workers and librarians, there is the need however to learn new
technology and to keep up with rapid changes in knowledge media especially the Internet.
The need for information literacy improvement is noted as well to focus on information users.

There is a need to survey current status of professional capability of information workers,
information specialists and librarians in the ability to identify needs, use and evaluate and assess
with skills for subscribed databases. Due to the increased opening of information courses and
library and information departments, there are questions related with the quality of the graduates
to enter the actual working environment.

Although most information websites provided online learning on the use of information services,
there is still much requirement in other areas such as the creation techniques and tools for
e-learning courses.

6.2 Conclusion and recommendations

This study identified a current status of National Information Policy of Thailand from the information obtained from literature survey and Internet searching as well as from interviewing those people who are involved with the activities under the National Information Policy and ThaiNATIS. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats are reported with recommendations for future operation and for future research. Strengths of ThaiNATIS are the internal forces that drive the achievement of the project. Strengths can be seen from the performance of the national coordinating centers which formed ThaiNATIS. Much progress in library and information services have been initiated and carried on from the capacity of the individual centers. ICT readiness of the national coordinating centers provides a strong basis for ThaiNATIS networking that would bring in cooperation and collaboration toward the goals of the National Information Policy

Weaknesses of ThaiNATIS are the internal forces that hinder the achievement of the mission. Weaknesses of ThaiNATIS showed a lack of management support from high level administration. National Library of Thailand was not in a position to direct and to communicate with the national coordinating centers in order to follow up the activities as well as to assess, to plan for cooperation in terms of creating new missions to properly fit the rapid change of ICT and national movement into the digital library world

Opportunities are the external forces beyond control of ThaiNATIS. Opportunities can be illustrated from the government policies stated in the National Plans of Thailand and the improved legal framework that open the rooms for ThaiNATIS to revise the administrative structure in order to revitalize the action plan to be more active and that the role of the National Library can become more visible and thus strengthened.

Threats are the external forces derived from the government policies, changing ICT technologies and probably the laws related to information works. Threats of ThaiNATIS can be seen from a lack of authority of the National Library and its leadership from the National Committee. Changes from politics and government showed slow progress in administrative processing of ThaiNATIS.

SWOT analysis was scheduled to conduct in March 2008 as part of this study. It was planned to call for participation from National Library on behalf of NCDC, the National Coordinating Centers, and Special Interest Groups under Thai Library Association: Public Libraries, School Libraries, Special Libraries, Library Instructors Group, Academic Libraries, Vocational Education Libraries, Private Institution Libraries and International Librarians Group.

Unfortunately, however the SWOT analysis has not been able to finish in March although a pilot study was started. Problems were immaturity of the participants to the result of this survey under study, a long absence of ThaiNATIS activities, and unclear direction of ThaiNATIS future. This study still plans to call for a forum to stir conversations among ThaiNATIS, Thai Library Association, and library and information professionals. The forum was a recommendation from the 6 National Coordinating Centers.



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