Review of the book entitled “Pearl of Knowledge”

Oral History Interview With Dr. Abbas Horri

Narges Karami
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


Note: Oral history is one of the scientific methods in historical research that is based on purposeful interviews. Oral history focuses on individual experiences, and its collector contributes greatly to a joint effort with the narrator to examine and record his or her experiences.

In recent years, the National Archives and Library of the Islamic Republic of Iran has conducted numerous interviews with contemporary scientific, political, cultural, and artistic characters, including interviews with librarianship and information science professors.

The present book is one of the sources of the oral history of this organization in the field of information science as well as the history of modern librarianship in Iran.

This book is the result of a six-hour interview between Peymaneh Salehi, who was an expert in charge of the Oral History Department of the National Archives and Library of Iran, and Abbas Horri in four sessions, which took place in his office in the Library and Information Department of the University of Tehran in October 2004.

In addition, playing the role of an interviewer, Salehi has done the research and editing of the book himself. The first edition of this book was published in 2016 by the Publications of the Documents and National Library of the Islamic Republic of Iran in 209 pages. He has introduced many new concepts and theories in the field of information for the first time in Iran.

Abbas Horri was born on March 6th in 1936,  in a religious family in Mashhad. After completing his primary education and the first three years of high school, he entered elementary school and after completing his studies as a teacher, he first went to one of the villages of Kashmar and then to Kashmar city. He completed his bachelor's degree in English language and literature at the University of Mashhad and his master's degree at the University of Tehran, where he received his doctorate in librarianship from Case Western University in 1981. In 1974, she was transferred from the Education System (then Ministry of Culture) to the University of Tehran and taught various courses in librarianship.

Horri began writing at elementary school and wrote and translated dozens of articles and books during his lifetime. In addition to teaching and guiding students in research projects and their dissertations, he has also played a key role in launching and developing several national research projects. In addition, he was the director of information journals and the editor of specialized journals, as well as collaborate in the compilation of encyclopedias such as The Encyclopedia of Library and Information, the Dictionary of Children and Adolescents, and the Encyclopedia of the Islamic World. He has been selected many times in scientific conferences and book festivals and has won awards. After a period of illness, Abbas Horri died in May 2013.

The book "Pearl of Knowledge" has been compiled in ten chapters after the publisher's note and the compiler's introduction. The chapters of the book are named and compiled based on the narrator's biography and scientific and research activities.

The first chapter, entitled "Family and Adolescence", is about his birth and family life and his elementary and high school education.

In the second chapter, entitled "The beginning of academic education, librarianship, and doctoral degree", the interviewer introduces the reader to his academic background by asking the narrator questions about academic education from undergraduate to doctoral and membership in the library department of the University of Tehran.

The third chapter is called "Teaching in the University and the Characteristics of the Field of Librarianship". In this chapter, Horri describes the characteristics of the field of librarianship, the relationship between librarianship and information science, as well as the changes he has made to the system of dissertations while describing the way he teaches and the courses he teaches at the university.

In the fourth chapter, entitled "National Library of Iran", the narrator answers the interviewer's questions underlying issues such as his cooperation with the National Library, Book Quarterly, publication of IFLA articles, the role of the National Library policy, resource allocation status, information status in the National Library and the integration of the National Library and Documents Organization.

The fifth chapter, entitled "Library and Information Encyclopedia", is about zero to one hundred formations and compilation of this encyclopedia, of which Abbas Horri is in charge of editing.

Public and Academic Libraries and the Labor Market for Librarianship is the title of chapter six. In this chapter, Horri answers the interviewer's questions about the characteristics of public libraries, specialized and academic libraries, the status of these libraries in Iran and other countries, the activities of librarians in libraries, and librarianship trends and its labor market.

Chapter seven, entitled "National Information Science", is about the formation of the High Information Council, the activities of this council, and the characteristics of the National Information Science. In the eighth chapter, entitled "Writing and collaborating with publications", the narrator talks about his writing history and the publications he has collaborated with.

Chapter nine, entitled, "Participation in International Assemblies, Review of Cultural Research Office Activities," deals with libraries and information conferences and seminars, IFLA meetings, and the experiences of participating in such assemblies."Library and Information Science Publications, Iranian Library and Information Association" is the title of the last chapter of the book. In this chapter, he has evaluated library magazines, reviewed works in the field of librarianship and information science, the Library and Information Association of Iran, and librarians' associations of other countries. There is also a section entitled "Works and Activities" which includes a list of books, articles, notes and attitudes, lectures, interviews, research projects, awards, dissertation guidance, and dissertation advice. The end of the book is "Index", "Selected Images" and "Bibliography".

Following the publication of the book "Pearl of Knowledge", in the book review sessions, professors and experts in the field of librarianship and information science pointing out its drawbacks and also strengths such as the use of a suitable title for the book and the editor's notes in the endnote page. 

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