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LIS Dissertation Titles and Abstracts (1930–2009): Where Have All the Librar* Gone?

Craig S. Finlay, Cassidy R. Sugimoto, Daifeng Li and Terrell G. Russell
The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy
Vol. 82, No. 1 (January 2012), pp. 29-46
DOI: 10.1086/662945
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/662945
Page Count: 18
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LIS Dissertation Titles and Abstracts (1930–2009): Where Have All the Librar* Gone?
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Abstract

This article examines the topicality of Library and Information Science (LIS) dissertations written between 1930 and 2009 at schools with American Library Association (ALA)–accredited university programs in North America. Dissertation titles and abstracts were examined for the presence of library-related keywords drawn from the core curricula of ALA-accredited schools, and trend data were created to describe the evolution of LIS doctoral research over the past eighty years. The results show that the percentage of dissertations found to contain no instance of any of the selected library keywords has steadily risen since 1980. Simultaneously, the percentage of dissertations found to contain instances of keywords in both the title and abstract has steadily declined. The results provide general empirical support for long-held anecdotal assertions that libraries are no longer the primary research focus at the doctoral level in LIS.

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