Analytical Study of Master of Library Science Dissertations at the University of Maiduguri, Nigeria

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Introduction

The Department of Library Science, University of Maiduguri, was established in December 1977. An undergraduate degree programme began in the 1982/83 academic session. The master's in library science (MLS) programme began in 1993/94, with the following areas of specialisation: Foundations of Library and Information Science; Bibliographical Studies and Information Services; Library Management; Organisation of Knowledge; and Information Science. The objectives of the master's programme include:

* To educate graduates to understand and appreciate the changing library and information needs of the Nigerian society.

* To provide students with advanced theoretical knowledge and their relevant application to library and information problems.

* To provide students with advanced management skills and techniques for application in libraries and other library-oriented institutions such as publishing for library schools.

* To provide the personnel for library schools. To educate students in the theory and practice of communication to enable them to relate information effectively to the needs of their communities.

* To train students to acquire advanced skills in one or more areas of library and information science.

* To promote professionals who are competent in identifying problems and conducting research in various aspects of library, information and archival science (MLS Handbook, 2000).

A doctor of philosophy (PhD) in library and information science (LIS) begin in 2006/07. As stated in the PhD handbook (n.d.), the department, having enhanced its trained manpower capability with the master's programme for more than ten years, was faced with a pressing demand for a doctoral programme. The programme is designed to train academics and professionals with relevant theoretical knowledge in LIS for public and private organisations and to develop advanced management personnel with technical and conceptual skills for the organisation and administration of modern libraries and related institutions. The programme will also produce teaching personnel for LIS departments.

The dissertation is one of the major requirements for the award of the Degree of Master of Library Science (MLS) in the University of Maiduguri. Usually an approved topic on any aspect of Library Information and Archival work to be research and reported upon. A seminar is required on the approved topic prior to the completion and submission of the dissertation to the School of Postgraduate Studies. In Duck and Beck's work as quoted by Fosu and Alemna (2006), the goals of a dissertation are to meet the requirements of a degree, proving that one has mastered the skills necessary to one's chosen scholarly field, while at the same time, making an original contribution to that field.

Literature on analytical studies on undergraduate final year projects and postgraduate dissertations/theses on Library and Information Science has generated a considerable amount of research over the years. Afolabi and Mohammed (1984) analysed 371 final year undergraduate projects submitted to the Department of Library Science, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, between 1972 and 1983. Their study showed that the aspect of Librarianship most of the students concentrated on was Library Services, the type of library most discussed was the Public Library and the geographical area most covered by the researchers was Kaduna State. Momoh (1993) studied the statistical analysis of final year undergraduate Library Science projects at the University of Maiduguri, between 1981 and 1990. The findings of the study showed that Library history is the most concentrated subject area and the most discussed type of library was the Academic Library. It recommended that heavily concentrated areas should be de-emphasised while the future focus should be on the least/non-discussed areas. Fosu and Alemna (2006) analysed Masters dissertations written on the Balme Library, University of Ghana by students of the Department of Information Studies, University of Ghana between 1998 and 2005, with a view to ascertaining how the management of Balme Library has implemented the recommendations from the dissertations. …