کتابخانه، موزه و مرکز اسناد مجلس شورای اسلامی


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[2019/04/09]

General introduction  

 

Brief history of Iranian Parliamentary Library 

The Library of Iranian Parliament with a 112-year history is one of the fundamental institutions in Iran. National Consultative Assembly (Majles-e Shora-ye Melli that will hereafter be cited within the text as the Majles or the Parliament.) was established in 7 October 1906 and along with the establishment of the Parliament some of the members of the Parliament and the intellectuals suggested to establish a library for providing library, information and research services for the Parliament. In the same year, the Parliament provided a number of legal and non-legal books that could be used for making law. We can say that it was the first library of the Majles and the first parliamentary library in Asia. In less than two years, namely on January 7, 1909 the Majles passed a law to which the library was referred as a unit of the Majles. The library with a limited space was located in the old and beautiful building of the Majles in the vicinity of a small and traditional pond in Baharestan Garden. The building is called Constitution Building at the present time. The Library was being used by the members of the Majles and some other famous researchers, and the number of users and materials gradually increased and therefore the Majles purchased some old buildings including an old and big building for keeping horses and carriages and Aziz ol-Soltan building at the east side of Baharestan Garden in the fifth period of the National Consultative Assembly. The structure of the first building was changed and prepared for the library and then the library was moved to the building as an independent, old and big building in 1923 and inaugurated as the first modern governmental library in the presence of cultural and political figures in Iran in 1925. Arbab Keykhosro Shahrokh, the representative of the Zoroastrians and head of administrative and financial Affairs at the Parliament, made many efforts to establish and develop the library. He bought a lot of book and accepted donations of books including manuscripts.

 

The Library was growing and developing little by little, which necessitated a bigger building. The new building of the Library was constructed and opened in 6 February 1963 which could meet the various needs of users including MPs and researchers. The building is still used by MPs and people as the Library No.2.

The Islamic Revolution of Iran won a victory in 11 February 1979 and subsequently the Islamic Consultative Assembly was established in 28 May 1980. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, the dissolution of the Senate and establishment of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, the Senate Library was also added to the Majles Library.

 In 25 December 1996 a new statute for the library was approved by the Islamic Consultative Assembly, whereby the library became a new organization financially and organizationally independent from the Parliament.

A board of trustees consisting of some MPs and some experts of librarianship and information has overall responsibility for the management of the Library. The board of trustees elects a librarian as the director of the Library. Also, the speaker of the Majles is the chairman of the Library board of trustees. The Majles Library has developed and grown a lot since then.

Today, the Library with the use of modern equipment and reach resources especially in the field of Iranian Studies and humanities has achieved a honorable stand not only in Iran but also in the Middle East. Holding numerous conferences, attendance at national and international exhibitions, membership in domestic and international institutions, digitization of documentary heritage of Iran and Islamic world and so on are just some of the common projects of the library. The main purpose of the Library is to make its materials and sources accessible to everyone by various ways and means.

For the time being, The Library of Iranian Parliament consists of various sections and materials. In the following, each of these is briefly explained.

 

Manuscripts

As everyone knows Iranians and Muslims have had a great role in promoting science and culture in the world. Manuscripts are the scientific history humanity. These books recall bright era of flourishing sciences and culture in Iran too. Written heritage of Iran includes all fields of knowledge such as philosophy, history, medicine, mathematics, music, geography, astronomy etc. Protecting these incredible heritages can help scholars and researchers to recognize more about Iran’s precious cultural history.

Manuscripts found at the Majles Library are a testimony of the long intellectual history of Iranians and Muslims to promote sciences of all kind. These works have played a central role in developing culture and civilization of human community including Muslim and Iranian communities.

They are a source of knowledge about the past. A variety of efforts have been undertaken by the Majles Library to preserve its collection of manuscripts and to make them accessible to researchers and the general public.

Although Iran manuscripts can still be found in many libraries, mosques, old schools and in private collections, there are five main centres where many important manuscripts are held. These centres are the Iranian Parliamentary Library in Tehran, the Ayatollah Marashi-yi Najafi Library in

Qom, the Astan-e Qods-e Razavi Library in Mashhad, the Central Library of Tehran University and the Malek Library in Tehran. The Majles Library, however, holds the most important collection of manuscripts in Iran.

The Majles Library’s collection of Islamic manuscripts is internationally renowned. The collection is one of the largest and finest of its kind in Iran and in the Muslim world. The many treasures it contains and the breadth and scope of the subjects they cover make this collection one of the most important storehouses of Islamic and Iranian documentary heritage in the world. The collection contains about 27,693 volumes, with about 61,000 titles of manuscripts, ranging from the 3rd to the 14th century Hijri / 9th to the 20th century CE.

The collection is unique for two reasons. First, it contains many important items, that is, some of the finest illuminations and calligraphy with a variety of scripts of the Holy Qur’an, calligraphic art works, and other high-quality copies of many important works. Secondly, the collection is one the most diverse in terms of the subjects that are covered by the manuscripts. The manuscripts include copies of: the Holy Qur’an, works of Qur’anic sciences, Hadiths (reports from the Prophet and the Imams), Kalam or theology, Islamic law, prayers and sermons, mysticism, philosophy, ethics and politics, biographies, histories, geographical works, Arabic and Persian grammar, lexicography and philology, rhetoric and prosody, poetry and prose, anthologies and other literary works, alchemy, astronomy, medicine, pharmacy and pharmacology, natural history, chemistry, etc. This outstanding collection is now accessible to libraries, cultural and academic institutions and researchers from all over the world.

At first, a short history of the collection will be presented. Then, the main activities that the library undertakes in order to protect its collection and the measures it takes to restore manuscripts will be introduced. Then, the various activities related to manuscripts such as purchase, donation, exchange, evaluation, researching and cataloguing, and preservation and conservation will be explained. Then, we will discuss the services offered by the Library: library and information services concerning the manuscripts, its databases, microfilm, CD-ROM and photocopy services, and the bibliographical information about manuscripts to be found on the Majles Library website. And finally, the editing and the publishing of manuscripts in order to preserve this priceless intellectual heritage, along with the publication of festschrifts to honour important Iranian cataloguers will be discussed. 

History of the Manuscripts Collection in the Majles Library

The establishment of the Parliamentary Library of Iran has been laid down in Art.135 of the local by-law of the National Consultative Assembly approved on Jan.7, 1909. In this law the “library office” is named as one of the “administrative offices” of the National Consultative Assembly. Arbad Keykhosro Shahrokh, representative of Zoroastrians in the second period of the National Consultative Assembly, Director of the Administrative and supplier of the National Consultative Assembly at that time was the person who played an effective role in the achievement of the said article. But due to heavy loads of administrative affairs, fulfillment of duties as representative and lack of finance the establishment of the library was not developed very much.

It became more advanced in 1912 when the Majles purchased 202 books from Mirza Abolhassan Jelveh of which 105 books were handwritten. Therefore the development of the Majles Library coincided with the providing of the first collection of manuscripts. Special attention was paid to the Library resource development by educated persons, great educated men, politicians and compilers. Several manuscripts were donated to or purchased by the Majles. Some of these donated manuscripts bear the name of the grantor and the year they were granted. The granted books are as follows:

Collection of Mirza Mahmud Khan Ehteshamossaltaneh: He granted 1888 printed and handwritten books in 1912 and 1923. There are very precious handwritten books among the granted books;

Collection of Seyyed Mohammad Tabatabaei in 1945: 1438 handwritten books;

Collection of Najmoddoleh in 1949: 115 handwritten books;

Collection of Firouz in 1957: 368 handwritten books;

Collection of Lalani: 26 handwritten books;

Collection of Seyyed Jamaloddin Asadabadi in 1963: 28 handwritten books;

Collection of Khoei, The Friday Imam, in 1965: 260 handwritten books;

Collection of Rahi Moa’yyeri in 1968: 23 handwritten books;

Collection of Soltan Alqaraei in 1969: 179 handwritten books;

Collection of Holaku Rambod in 1972: 46 handwritten books;

Collection of Mohtasham Nouri in 1980: 5 handwritten books;

Collection of Sorood in 1983: 147 handwritten books;

Collection of Mo’ezzi Dezfouli in 1993: 420 handwritten books;

Collection of Karimzadeh Tabrizi in 1999: 1000 handwritten books;

Collection of Malek Madani in 2000: 51 handwritten books;

Collection of Sadrolafazel during 2000-2001: 70 handwritten books.

Activities

The main activities of the Majles Library with manuscripts are acquisition, cataloguing, library and information services, digitization, preservation, research and edition, publishing and encouragement of the researches to research about manuscripts. The detailed description of such activities is as follows.

  1. Acquisition

Donation and purchase are two main ways in acquisition of manuscripts at the Library.

Until recently, 250 to 300 manuscripts were purchased for the Majles Library every year. The sum of Rls.700,000,000(equivalent to 87500 USD in summer 2004) is allocated for such purpose. Due to economic and financial difficulties the purchase of the manuscript is limited at the present time, but donation of manuscript is in a better condition. Until the last five years every year for example from 1998 to 2003 on average 243 manuscripts were granted to the Majles Library, but only 5 manuscripts have been granted to the Library in the past five years.

Manuscripts shall be studied in a council named “Assessment Council” or “Evaluation Council” before purchasing. The Council consists of famous experts. This council holds its session once a week. In these sessions the scientific, historical, artistic and monetary value of these manuscripts shall be studied. If the result of the assessment is positive, they will be bought. The considered purchasing priorities are: age, being rare or unique, the handwriting of one of the famous calligraphers, penmen and writers, written by the author, trimmed to illumination, having a superior cover, existence of historical and cultural notes in the manuscript.

If the purchased manuscripts have been damaged they will be sent to the Preservation and Conservation Section for repair purposes.

2. Cataloguing

In the cataloguing of the manuscripts, bibliography and codicology have been considered. Finding the title and subject of the manuscript and the name of the author shall be done in the bibliography stage. In codicology usually articles such as the style of writing and graphology, the date of copying(transcription), the name of the copyist (scribe), notes added to the main hand written book by scientific and cultural authorities in the lapse of time, decorations and motifs such as illuminations (gold works), paintings and drawings, letter-heads, book-cover properties as material and size, properties of the paper as type of paper and the place of the manufacturing of the paper shall be under consideration.

Up to now most of the manuscripts were catalogued and about 50 volumes of the Majles Library manuscript catalogues were published.

Professor Abdol Husain Haeri, a well-known bibliographer who had been working in the Majles Library for 50 years and whose scientific reputation was highly regarded by the bibliographers of the world, said about his cataloguing method “I will never catalogue a manuscript unless I know its title and name of author exactly. Sometimes cataloguing a manuscript requires one or two months studying. Muslims scientific history is incomplete and during studying we will face many unknown scientists whose names are mentioned in no history of science. Even we find unknown books written by well-known scientists”.

In order to achieve a complete and accurate compilation of Muslims’ scientific history he offered: “For compiling history of science by the Iranian and Muslims I offer to collect the duplicate copies (reproductions) of all manuscripts existing in the world in a certain centre that could be available to every person. I mean to make a worldwide databank of all manuscripts written in Islamic periods so that accessibility to them would be easy.

3. Research Activities

Some important activities concerning manuscripts are:

Al-Shari’atu Ila Istidraki al-Zari’ah(الشریعه الی استدراک الذریعه), a two-volume book for completing the great Shiite bibliography entitled “Al Zari’atu Ila Tasanifi al-Shi’ah”( الذریعة إلی تصانیف الشیعة) by Sheykh Agha Bozorg-e Tehrani.

A brief catalogue of the Majles Library’s manuscripts has been prepared too. 8710 manuscripts that have not been fully catalogued until 2007 have been introduced in the catalogue. Most of these manuscripts have been cataloged at the present time.

It is necessary to mention that the main researches on the Library manuscripts are done by the Research Center of the Library.  

B) The Film Section

Manuscripts are a valuable written heritage and will be destroyed if they are used too much. Thus the Library was trying to provide a copy or digital copies to those who wish to study. For the achievement of such aim the Film Section has been established.

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This section was established in 1951. Since then the Film Section has prepared microfilms from manuscripts and also provides other services. Since 1971, Mr. Abdollah Riazi, speaker of the National Consultative Assembly, paid special attention to the library and allocated a certain amount of budget to it. From 1974 to 1975 Mr. Mohammad Shahdadi was appointed as director of the library. He made a great effort in photography and film taking as well as in the operation of the printing machines. He travelled to Germany for the purpose of learning and in order to complete the equipment. He purchased modern equipment during his studies. The purchased equipment was: a camera suitable for preparing microfilms, some reading devices, a film processor and a portable camera. We could name him the founder of photography in the Majles Library. After the victory of the Islamic Revolution in 1979 a new camera labeled “OK 200” was purchased from “Zeutschel”, the German Company. In 1996 the Majles Library was separated from the Islamic Consultative Assembly for administrative and organizational reasons and obtained an independent budget that showed the financial improvement. Again special attention is paid to the Film Section and modern devices such as a book scanner, and a micro scanner or roll film scan station were purchased from English Company. These devices change microfilms into digital information.

  • Services and Duties

The main duties of this section are the preparation of duplicate copies (reproductions) such as microfilms, prints in A3 and A4 sizes, CD-Roms, floppy disks and others from the main manuscripts. It should be stated that formerly a reader printer device supplied copies in A3 and A4 sizes. Due to the high expenses and the low quality the use of this device has lessened.

Electronic information is first collected from microfilms by a micro scanner and then printed on an ordinary printer. Two CDs are being prepared from every manuscript. One CD is used for service providing purposes and the other one is kept as a back-up copy. Usually the provided services of this section are printing and providing CDs and microfilms. Legislators, professors, researchers, students, libraries and scientific and cultural institutions either in Iran or abroad are the users of these services.

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There are 35mm and 16mm films used in this section. Every loop of a 35mm film contains 600 frames and every loop of a 16mm film contains 1,200 frames. Every frame can hold two handwritten pages. Presently 4,300 loops of 16mm microfilms and 35mm microfilms are kept in the archive. These microfilms contain 14 manuscripts. Out of 14,000 manuscripts saved on microfilms, about 2,500 were digitized.

 

The Preservation and Conservation Section

This section has two main duties: bookbinding, conservation and the repair of printed books; pathology and conservation of manuscripts and historical documents.

Since every manuscript has its special damage condition therefore we could not consider a fixed and common conservation period for all of them, because type and degree of damages are different. Usually the damage of manuscripts is categorized in grades 1, 2 and 3. Based on damage type and degree, the quality and time of conservation shall be determined. Presently 7 experts are active in conservation affairs. 60 volumes of manuscripts are approximately repaired a month.

 

The IT and digitization

This section has several activities. One of them is preparing the bibliographic database for manuscripts. Specific descriptions of the manuscripts are kept in this database and the users have access to those manuscripts though different fields.

One of the considerable activities done at the Library is publication of the full text of the manuscripts in the Intranet (the Majles Library network) in digital form and in PDF format. Users would be able to access them very easily and free of charge.

Of course some rules and regulations shall be constituted to determine the access rights of the users to these texts.

 

Research

The Research Centre of the Majles Library is responsible for correcting, researching and publishing of manuscripts with the help of some researchers. The revival of the written heritage is the main task of the Centre. Then, the edited manuscripts or facsimile of manuscripts are published.

 

Awards and conferences

The Library has held a lot of conferences, meetings and exhibitions about manuscripts and given awards to persons how are very active in the field of manuscripts so far.

 

 

Lithographic and movable-type books

One of the noteworthy collections of the Library is the collection of lithographic and movable-type books which contains 21700 titles. This type of books is very valuable in terms of content and publishing history. Most of the collection has been digitized and available free of charge on the Library website. Another collection of lithographic and movable-type books which are extremely valuable and important are been kept at Iranian Studies Library.   

Printed books

Printed books collections are being kept in three libraries: Library No. 1, Library No. 2(Iranian Studies Library) and Islamic Revolution Library.

  1. Library No. 1

The main collection of the printed books is available at Library No. 1. It is the main library of the Parliament. The books available at this building are in different languages like Persian (Farsi), Arabic, English, French, German, Rusian, Turkish, Japanese, Chainess etc. They are mainly in the fields of humanities and social sciences such as philosophy, law, political sciences, economics, history, literature, art, culture and etc. Also a few books can be found in medicine and mathematics. However they are mostly about Iran and Islam.

It should be taken into account that Library No.1 was originally the same Library of the National Consultative Assembly which was established in 1906, and then was moved to an independent, old and big building, and later on was moved to the current building which was constructed and opened in 6 February 1963. Additionally, the collections of manuscripts, lithographic and movable-type books, digital materials and thesis are available at the building.

Today hundreds of researchers make use of this library every day.

  1. Library No.2

It was the former Senate Library which was annexed to the Majles Library after the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran. It is known as the Iranian Studies Library (ISL) at the present time.

Currently, the Library holds valuable, rare and unique sources including 100,000 volumes of printed books in Persian, Arabic and other foreign languages such as English, French, German, Russian, Georgian, and so on, lithographic and movable-type books, specialized journals in the fields of Iranian and Islamic studies, a number of old maps including maps of Iran, the Orient and the Islamic world, proceedings of the National and Islamic Consultative Assemblies, the Senate and Constituent Assembly of Iran, and Persian abstracts of English articles. Additional information will be given about ISL in its related part.

  1. Specialized Library of Islamic Revolution

With respect to the 30th anniversary of Islamic Revolution of Iran the Library decided to allocate a distinct collection about the subject. It was inaugurated in 2008 and welcome to all interested researchers.

  1. Specialized Library of Afghanistan

The idea of establishing a specialized library about Afghanistan dated back to the "First International Conference on Iran-Afghanistan Written Heritage" held in 2010. Currently, the library is located next to the Specialized Library of the Islamic Revolution and providing services for researchers.

 

Iranian Studies Library (Library No. 2)

 

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The Iranian Studies Library (ISL) was established after the establishment of the Senate of Iran in 1949 and Seyyed Hassan Taqizadeh’s appointment as the first speaker of the Senate, with the support and contribution of Dr. Zaryab Khuyi, the first director of the Senate Library. As well as being a specialized library, it provides specialized information resources in the fields of Iranian and Islamic subject matters, serving the needs of specialist and outstanding researchers. In order to fund the purchase of library resources, the initial approach was to use the senators' (late return) fines. Before the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the library was never used publicly, but only senators and some scholars were allowed to use the library.

It is worth mentioning that the Senate Library was established along with the Senate of Iran in 1949, but the Senate did not have its own building until 1955. So, the Library was located in the building of the former National Consultative Assembly in Baharestan Square occupying two small rooms with around 400 or 500 volumes at the time of its establishment. The Library was moved to a hall beside the Senate Executive Board in 1956. In early 1983, that is after the victory of the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the dissolution of the Senate, it was relocated to the Queen Mother's Palace. From that time on, ordinary people could also access the library’s holdings. It served the people until early 2004, and then was transferred to the historical and beautiful building of the former National Consultative Assembly (now called the Constitution Building or Baharestan Palace) in Baharestan Square. It was finally located in the old original building of the former National Consultative Assembly Library in Baharestan Square and reopened in the presence of cultural and political figures on November 15, 2005. The library currently has a collection of more than one hundred thousand exquisite sources of specialized information on Iran, Islam and the Orient.

 

The Library collections

Currently, the Library holds valuable, rare and unique sources including 100,000 volumes of printed books in Persian, Arabic and other foreign languages such as English, French, German, Russian, Georgian, and so on, lithographic and movable-type books, specialized journals in the fields of Iranian and Islamic studies, a number of old maps including maps of Iran, the Orient and the Islamic world, proceedings of the National and Islamic Consultative Assemblies, the Senate and Constituent Assembly of Iran, and Persian abstracts of English articles.

 

Printed books in Persian and Arabic

The collection of printed books in Persian and Arabic, which is one of the most significant collections available at the Library, contains nearly 42,503 books. There has been an attempt to gather the best works from the best publishers from all over the country to date. Complete sets of Islamic jurisprudence, the principles of inference, sayings (Hadith), the science of discourse (Kalam), theology, the biographies of the great scholars of Islam, including Shiites and Sunnis, and translations of texts on Iranian studies, travel records, and so on, are kept at the Library.

 

Printed books in foreign languages

There are about 19,318 books in foreign languages such as English, German, French, Italian, Turkish, Russian, etc., which are of great and have been acquired under the supervision of experts and researchers. To purchase and collect these sources the Library requires a great deal of funding. Fortunately, most old sources are available at the Library. The Library has been trying to provide all significant sources in any language and to gather any translation, criticism or commentary concerning those original sources.

Islamic philosophy, Iranian pre-Islamic religions, Islamic studies, law, art, Persian language and literature, history, research articles of Orientalism Congresses, Oriental studies, memoirs of Iranologists and Islamic scholars, Iranian history, travelogues, etc., are the core subject areas of the Library.

ISL is the best store-house of European travelogues about Iran, holding 586 titles, including 343 titles in English, 123 titles in French, 87 titles in German and 32 titles in Italian, Latin, Turkish, Russian languages, etc.

 

Lithographic and movable-type books

One of the noteworthy collections of the Iranian Studies Library of the Islamic Consultative Assembly is the collection of lithographic and movable-type books which contains 3,435 titles. Persian literature is a core subject area in this collection. Most of the books have been published in Tehran. The oldest lithographic book in the collection is “Farhang Shu’uri”(فرهنگ شعوری) printed in 1742 in Constantinople, the capital of the Ottoman Empire, in two volumes, and the oldest movable-type books are “the Canon of Medicine”, by Avicenna printed in 1593, “Historia Christi ”, a Latin-Persian book, printed in 1639 and  “Tarikh-e Sami va Shaker va Sobhi”( تاریخ سامی و شاکر و صبحی) printed in 1819.

 

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The collection of journals and magazines is one of the most important collections of its kind at ISL. It contains 451 titles of specialized journals in Persian on Iranian and Islamic topics. There are some titles in Persian that were published abroad and 49 specialized journals in Arabic in the collection. All of these journals are excellent sources for research.

In addition to Persian-language journals, 130 titles of specialized journals about Iran and Islam in foreign languages have been collected. Some of them are more than 100 years old. For example, we can mention “Acta Orientalia” which almost always publishes interesting research about Iran in Hungary, “Journal Asiatique” one of the most important journals in the field of Oriental and Asian studies in Europe and the world which is published by the Société Asiatique, “Iran”, a peer-reviewed journal about Iran published in London, “Iranian Studies” which has been published in New York from 1967 onwards.

In addition, one of the most important activities being undertaken in recent years is abstracting and indexing articles in foreign journals at ISL.

ISL is also one of the most important libraries in terms of holding more than one hundred titles of periodicals from the Qajar period to the end of the Pahlavi period.

 

Digital sources

The Iranian Studies Library provides digital images of its materials for researchers in order to give more useful and effective services to its users, as well as to protect its rare and old materials. So far, about 6,200 information sources such as books, magazines, geographic maps, etc. have been digitized in ISL. Given the fact that these resources are old and varied, digital images provide a great opportunity for researchers in these areas.

 

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Given the type of sources available at ISL, this library cannot be considered merely a parliamentary library, because it was founded with the aim of creating a specialized library for Iranian-Islamic studies for the senior researchers of Iran and the world. Users of the library have been prominent scholars in Iran and Iranologists and orientalists who have travelled to Iran since its inception to this day.

 

 

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Contact with the Iranian Studies Library of the Islamic Consultative assembly

Hours: 8.00 – 17.00, Saturday to Thursday, except public holidays

Phone: +98 21 33137802

E-mail: majlislib2@gmail.com

Address: Baharestan Square, Tehran, Iran

P.O. Box: 866-11365

Postal Code: 1157613411

 

National and international documents

The Library possesses more than twelve millions of priceless documents related to 24 periods of National Consultative Assembly and 7 periods of Senate. These documents mainly represent the history of legislation including letters, commands, contracts, vaqfname(endowment letters, that is a deed attesting to the fact that a certain property has been endowed), concessions, parliamentary credentials, petitions, the marriage contracts, bills, maps, documents related to parliamentary commissions and elections, detailed debates of the Senate and the Parliament, historical photographs and so on. It can be a unique source of information for studying the political, social, cultural and economic history of contemporary Iran.

A particular part of the collection has been allocated to the United Nations’ documents and publications which are in three languages, English, Arabic and French. A few are in Persian.

Furthermore, a special part of the Majles Library is dedicated to the documents and reports of the governmental departments and organizations including seminars and conferences reports, resolutions, yearbooks, etc. The collection consists of the latest statistical information that is essential for social economic planning.

 

Periodicals

There are about 5,000 titles of periodicals at the Library of the Parliament which consists of 50,000 volumes. It is a rich and valid collection of the oldest Persian-language magazines published inside and outside the country, magazines related to Iran and the Islamic world in non-Persian languages, newsletters, etc. The collection can be a good source for historical, cultural, social, economic and political studies, and especially research on Iran's recent 100 year history. There is a lot of information about Iranian Constitutional Revolution, the nationalization of the oil industry, the Islamic Revolution and other events about Iran and the world in these newspapers, weeklies, quarterlies and other journals. In 2007, all periodicals specially periodicals in Persian language were catalogued and can be retrieved at the present time.

 

Museum of Parliament (The Majles Museum)

The founders of the library particularly Arbab Keykhosro Shahrokh intended to establish a museum next to the Library by buying the paintings of Kamal ol-Molk, eminent Iranian painter, and some other famous painters’ masterpieces in the early years of the establishment of the library.

Kamal ol-Molk presented some of his works to the Majles Library after he realized this goodwill. We can say that this valuable collection was the first basis for the formation of the Museum. Later, the Museum becomes more diverse by adding valuable manuscripts, historical documents and exquisite items.

The museum was located on the third floor of the Library of the Parliament (Library No. 1) till 1998, and it was moved to the ground floor and downstairs of the Queen Mother's Palace where the Library No.2 (former Senate Library) was located in the same year.

This year, valuable manuscripts and historical documents of the museum remained in the library, and objects and works donated to the speakers of the Majles by foreign officials and foreign parliamentary officials were added to the Museum. The peak of the Museum's activities was from 1998 to 2004. During these years, many people visited the Museum. The Museum was again transferred to the historical and beautiful building of the former National Consultative Assembly (now called the Constitution Building or Baharestan Palace) in Baharestan Garden in the period of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, and finally it was reopened in the same building in 2 December 2009.

A number of old and historical printing devices and tools were purchased or donated to the Library in 2011, but since the library was not a good place to hold these devices and objects, they were transferred to another building next to the old building of Iranian National Library. Eventually, it was officially opened on the fourth of September 2011 on the occasion of the Printing Industry's day, with the participation of cultural officials of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, pioneers and activists of the printing industry and those interested in the field.

As a result, the Islamic Consultative Assembly currently has two museums administered by the Majles Library: the Majles Museum and Museum of Iranian Script and Printing. The first has two artistic and historical approaches, and the second has the printing industry's approach.

Based on artistic approach, some of the works of art including the masterpieces of Kamal ol-Molk and other Iranian well-known painters such as Mirza Isma’il Ashtiyni, Ali Mahmudi, Mahmoud Owliya, Ja'far Chehrehnegar and others, old medals, calligraphy works, antiques, the gifts given by foreign officials to the speakers of the Islamic Consultative Assembly, etc. have been displayed on the walls and inside the showcases.

In the historical approach, the historical developments of contemporary Iran such as Constitutionalism, Iranian parliamentary legislation, the nationalization of the oil industry in Iran and the Islamic Revolution have been exhibited through pictures, documents and statues of the notable politicians of contemporary Iran. Another section of the Museum is the old and beautiful hall of debates at National Consultative Assembly which reminds people of the Parliamentary struggles and efforts. One of the recent developments is to set up a special website for the Museum which is accessible through the main website of the Library.

Museum of Iranian Script and Printing was also launched in order to display the history of the publishing industry and create an objective space for a better understanding of the printing industry in the last century. Over 90% of the machines, instruments and tools available at the Museum are donated by individuals, organizations and institutions. An area of 300 square meters is dedicated to this museum. At present, there are many groups of school students, university students, researchers and enthusiasts. Visiting the Museum of the Parliament is free of charge and open to the public.

By clicking Ok you access to the Museum website.

 

The Document Center of the Majles Library

 

The Library activities

First of all, the library is a parliamentary library. In the other words, the main purpose of the library is providing Members of the Legislature with library and information services. But over time, it also has become a library for documentary heritage, research, and for non-MPs especially students. The Library is active in the fields of acquisition, cataloguing, dissemination of information, IT and digitization, preservation and conservation, research, publication, holding cultural events and conferences, membership in national and international bodies.

 

The Preservation and Conservation Section

1. History

This section was officially established in 1982. Before the establishment of this section, the books were only bound and covers repaired.

2. Objectives

The main objective of the section is to prioritize and optimize the preservation and maintenance of resources available at the Majles Library, especially the valuable cultural heritage such as manuscripts.

3. Duties

This section has two main duties: bookbinding, conservation and the repair of printed books; pathology and conservation of manuscripts and historical documents.

The main tasks in the bookbinding section are: bookbinding, stitching periodicals, the repair of damaged books, and cover repair.

In the damage recognition and conservation of manuscript section the following activities are done.

  1. Laboratory and damage recognition:

Studying and testing type, material and colour of paper, ink, spots and chemical compounds. Scientific operations for the determination of the PH value, acid removing, spot removing, cleaning and strengthening of collapsed papers of manuscripts are other activities in the field.

  1. Conservation workshop:

Any required activities for correcting the physical structure of manuscripts are carried out in this regard.

The section prepares visual material such as photographs of all states of conservation, adjustment, removing old unsuitable conservation and repair of manuscripts and old volumes by using more suitable methods.

  1. Disinfection (Sterilization) and de-acidification:

The section does precise biological tests on manuscripts in order to study and determine the pest type, biological factors and micro-organisms and provides prevention methods. It also periodically inspects the manuscripts, the sampling and pollution control in the stacks, and prepares instructions for creating suitable conditions for preserving and maintaining manuscripts and other archived materials.

The section researches for common methods, styles and standards of antiseptic treatment of manuscripts and provides suitable solutions. It also makes antiseptic those stacks containing manuscripts by applying standard methods.

  1.  

Since every manuscript has its special damage condition therefore we could not consider a fixed and common conservation period for all of them, because type and degree of damages are different. Usually the damage of manuscripts is categorized in grades 1, 2 and 3. Based on damage type and degree, the quality and time of conservation shall be determined. Presently 7 experts are active in conservation affairs. 60 volumes of manuscripts are approximately repaired a month.

 

 

The Research Center of the Majles Library

One of the main activities of the parliamentary library of Iran which plays an important role in keeping the documentary heritage and making it more accessible is research. The center is under the direct supervision of the Library’s director.

1. History

The Research Centre of the Majles Library was established with the help of some researchers in 1997 with the aim of correcting, researching and publishing of manuscripts.

2. Duties and Activities

The revival of the written heritage is the main task of the Centre. The Centre, by inviting well-educated and famous professors and researchers, established 5 study groups in the fields “Islamic studies”, “Iranian Studies”, “Document and museum studies”, “Parliamentary studies” and “Research and edition”.

The Majles Library efforts in relation to research concentrate on the following fields presently.

  1. Providing catalogues for the Library manuscripts.
  2. Publishing valuable handwritten texts with regard to their content, physical features, language and information in the format of print and facsimile. As everyone knows manuscripts are the cultural documents of humanity especially Islamic world.
  3. Study documents. The main concentration is on Iranian Parliamentary documents available in the Documents Center. More than 50 volumes consisting of catalogues and documents have been published so far. Historical documents in general and parliamentary documents in particular are the most important source for the studies of contemporary Iranian history.
  4. Parliamentary studies. Some works have been as yet published and some other activities are in progress.
  5. Holding meetings on the topics of text research, codicology and bibliography.
  6. Publishing specialized journals.

The Center already focused on “Persian Language and Literature”, “Arab Language and Literature”, “Jurisprudence and Islamic Law”, “History and Geography”, “Philosophy, Kalam and mysticism” and “Art and Book craft”.

 

Publishing Section

Various types of information sources are produced and published by the Majles Library.

Printed books: 554 titles

Nameh-e Baharestan(journal of manuscripts and codicology): 32 issues

Payam-e Baharestan(journal of news and research): 28 issues

Asnad-e Baharestan(journal of documents): 15 issues

Matbu’at-e Baharestan(journal of periodicals): 7 issues

Facsimiles: 42 titles

CD-ROMs (These CDs contain digital images of the periodicals.): 44 CDs.

  

Research and cultural events

The library has held many conferences, workshops and exhibitions in the fields of librarianship, history, manuscripts, periodicals, codicology, art, documents, Iranian and Islamic studies and so on at the national and international level in the past 20 years.

 

 

D) The IT and Digitization

1. History

This section was established in 1998 for providing electronic services and setting up a digital library.

2. Duties and Activities

This section has several activities. One of them is preparing the bibliographic database for manuscripts. Specific descriptions of the manuscripts are kept in this database and the users have access to those manuscripts though different fields.

One of the considerable activities done at the Library is publication of the full text of the manuscripts in the Intranet (the Majles Library network) in digital form and in PDF format. Users would be able to access them very easily and free of charge.

Of course some rules and regulations shall be constituted to determine the access rights of the users to these texts.

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