Evaluation of References in Dissertations and Theses against the Holdings in a University Library

Article excerpt

Introduction

Library collections are accumulations of published and unpublished materials. A "good" collection for students working on the undergraduate or master's level may be a "bad" collection for students or faculty working at advanced research levels. In all cases the collection has to be judged relative to the academic program. A "good" library collection means that a student or faculty member can locate and gain access to needed resources in a reasonable period of time (George Smathers Library, 2004). Collection evaluation is a lengthy and labor intensive activity. Consequently, the collection manager generally begins a collection review prior to the faculty academic program review initiative.

When the University of Ibadan (then the University College Ibadan) was founded in 1948, the Faculty of Science was one of the three foundation faculties (along with arts and medicine). The faculty was then housed in the laboratory which was converted from the wards of the 56 army general hospital, Eleyele Ibadan. The faculty has been in this present site since 1953. From the start, the faculty watch word has been the attainment and maintenance of a high academic standard. By the 1960s the faculty was already recognised as a centre of excellence for scientific teaching and research. This is the consequence of the deliberate policy of the faculty's founders.

At the beginning, the faculty had six departments, namely, Botany, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics and Zoology. Through a process of expansion of old departments and creation of new ones, the faculty currently has ten departments, viz; Archaeology and Anthropology, Botany and Microbiology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geography, Geology, Mathematics, Physics, Statistics, and Zoology.

The Faculty of Science offers courses to students for all the science-based disciplines or faculties such as agriculture and forestry, education, technology, as well as the College of Medicine. The faculty plays an important supervisory role in the management of four service units of the university. These are the Botanical Garden, the University Computing Centre, the Zoological Garden, and the Laboratory Technology Training Scheme (LTTS). The faculty is home to a number of other units, including the federal radiation protection service (FRPS), which is owned by the federal government and the equipment maintenance centre EMC, managed by the university. The purpose of evaluation of library collection research, according to the George Smathers Library (2004), is to determine the qualitative level of collection support for a specific academic program, to identify the collection's maintenance and development needs

Scope

To determine the adequacy of the entire collection of Kenneth Dike Library on the Faculty of Science courses in relation to PhD thesis produced between 2000/2001 and 2002/2003 sessions. This means that some limitations of scope are necessary and that criteria of selection have to be imposed on the data. The evaluation of the collection is restricted to a narrow field. Hence the study is limited to the Faculty of Science between 2000/2001 and 2003 sessions. The judgement to be passed on the adequacy or inadequacy of the library collection will be based on the references on the sampled PhD thesis produced in the Faculty of Science 2001/2002 and 2002/2003 sessions found in the Kenneth Dike Library.

To provide the data, Faculty of Science PhD theses produced between 2000/2001 and 2002/2003 sessions were given in the library. The criteria for selection were the availability of the required data and the ready supply of the data, which were met after much stress from the library staff members concerned.

Several authors have contended that mere citing of an item is not enough indication that the item has been used. Brown (1956), for instance holds the views that citation may only reflect scholarly affectation or compliance with tradition. …