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A comparative analysis of instructional course themes in LIS and museum studies programs in the USA

Brady Lund (School of Library and Information Management, Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas, USA)
Ting Wang (School of Library and Information Management, Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas, USA)

Information and Learning Sciences

ISSN: 2398-5348

Article publication date: 8 July 2019

Abstract

Purpose

Considerable overlap exists between the disciplines of library and information science and museum studies. Exploiting the overlap and examining those areas were library/museum instruction courses diverge may provide valuable insights for how to improve the quality of these courses and better prepare students for instructional roles in both disciplines.

Design/methodology/approach

Word frequency and thematic analysis of the instructional course descriptions for all 52 American Library Association-accredited Master of Library and Information Science programs in the USA and 49 museum studies and affiliated (e.g. MA in anthropology with museum studies concentration) programs is performed.

Findings

Each discipline has some specific language to describe tasks specific to itself (e.g. museums), but these comprise a small percentage of the total language usage. Among other terms and themes, overlap occurs at a rate of about 50%. The remaining 35-45% of terms and themes reveal areas that are emphasized in only one discipline, but could be beneficial to incorporate in the curriculum/content in both disciplines.

Research limitations/implications

This research builds on a growing corpus of work demonstrating relations between museum studies and library and information science, and their status within a metadiscipline of information; this research presents a comparison of course content that may inform future curriculum/content development.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, no study of this type has been performed with museum studies courses, nor has a comparison between the two disciplines been investigated at this level.

Keywords

Citation

Lund, B. and Wang, T. (2019), "A comparative analysis of instructional course themes in LIS and museum studies programs in the USA", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 120 No. 7/8, pp. 426-450. https://doi.org/10.1108/ILS-03-2019-0016

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited