Document Type : Articles
This study uses forecasting approach based on key driving forces and their interactions in order to identify important driving forces affecting the future of academic libraries in Iran. The study is a combination of literature review, experts’ opinions and cross impact analysis. In order to analyze the data, SPSS and MicMac applications were used. This is an applied study and the study population consisted of a group of stakeholders with dynamic roles in the future of academic libraries or those with clear pictures regarding the current trends in academic libraries worldwide. Experts were selected using purposeful sampling and included faculty members and researchers in the field of information science and scientometrics, as well as managers and librarians of academic libraries. After literature review, 70 driving forces were identified and categorized in 9 categories. The interaction between these driving forces was evaluated by experts selected from the study population. After evaluating direct and indirect interactions between these forces using MicMac software, 13 key driving forces were identified. The findings of this study indicated that driving forces of “systemic and creative thinking of library management”, “consistency between library managers expertise with information and scientometrics fields”, “development of strategic plans for libraries”, “welcoming of changes by the employees”, “place as one of the bases of educational system”, “electronic publishing”, “preparation of curriculum books”, “ online citation resources”, “nature of information and access methods”, “development of information and communication technologies”, “knowledge management in library planning”, “electronic content creation”, and “documents management”, had the largest effects on future of academic libraries. Also the findings of this study indicated that driving forces of “systemic and creative thinking of library management” and “consistency between library managers’ expertise with information and scientometrics fields” had the highest frequency related to being in a suitable situation with average of 1.92 and total of 25 positive scores. Key driving forces of “Development of strategic plans for libraries” and “welcoming of changes by the employees” with the average of 0.69 and total of 9 positive scores had the next places and had the largest effects on future of academic libraries. The analysis of the results indicates two facts regarding academic libraries. The first fact is that, through a small amount of effort, academic libraries are able to retain their traditional position in educational institutes. The second fact is that distancing the general process of academic libraries from critical and undesirable results, requires four main activities including “development of strategic plans for libraries”, “using employees who are enthusiastic regarding change”, “compatibility between managers’ specialties and information science and scientometrics” and “systemic thoughts and creativity of library managers”. The results of this study can be used for decision making and planning of higher education managers and authorities. Identifying the driving forces and their interactions can be used for decision making and planning for the future of academic libraries.