This report presents the findings of the quality evaluation of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at Swedish higher education institutions which offer these six subjects as major subjects in undergraduate degrees and, where relevant, as postgraduate subjects. The evaluation took place during 2004.
The subjects covered by the evaluation and the institutions offering them were archive science (Mid Sweden University College, Stockholm University and Uppsala University); library and information science (University College of Borås, Lund University, Umeå University, Uppsala University and Växjö University); history of books and libraries (Lund University); information and media science (Linköping University); conservation (Göteborg University); and museology (Göteborg University, Umeå University and Uppsala University).
A panel of external assessors consisting of experts in each of the subjects was appointed by the National Agency for Higher Education to conduct the evaluation.. Those responsible for information and media science requested to be evaluated together with library and information science and were therefore assessed by the experts in these subjects.
The panel’s report is divided into separate sections for each subject, each including a description of the subject, a section on the higher education institutions and recommendations. The report begins with a general section containing overall thematic analyses. The panel is responsible for the contents of its report. The decisions and reflections of the National Agency are based on the panel’s report.
In archive science the assessors comment on the structural composition of the teaching staffs, endeavours to specialise, collaboration, literature and research in the subject. In their opinion no postgraduate programmes are offered in this subject in the real meaning of the term. They urge greater collaboration between the study programmes to enhance the long-term development of the subject.
The assessors of library and information science and information and media science analyse the contents of and interrelationship between the subject’s four content areas. These are the organisation of knowledge and information searches; the content organised and sought; instruments for linking the first two areas; and the fourth area, which provides the context within which the others will be understood.
They find that the University College of Borås is the only institute of higher education with the breadth and depth required to offer teaching in all four areas, while the information and media science programme in Linköping does not deal adequately with any area but could still have some potential after restructuring.
The assessors hope that all the study programmes will be able to collaborate in the context of the Bologna Process so that library and information science, seen from an overall Swedish perspective, will be offered in its total breadth but with a different focus at each institution.
In the case of books and libraries the assessors comment that Lund University, which has national responsibility for this subject, offers a small but, for Sweden, unique setting and they make several recommendations that aim to spread skills in this subject throughout the country.
The assessors dealing with conservation express their appreciation of the work being done at the department for environmental science/conservation at Göteborg University, which also has national responsibility for the award of degrees in conservation. They also analyse specific specialist areas such as the subject identity of conservation, applied and theoretical research and issues relating to resources and collaboration.
The assessor supplement their description of museology as a subject with a survey of museums and museum employees in Sweden. They also make joint recommendations to the three museology programmes evaluated. Among other things, they feel that there should be collaboration both between the programmes and with museums.
The panel’s general thematic analyses contain a section that discusses what the subjects have in common. Another section deals with specialist courses, professionally oriented studies or vocational education. The third section takes up postgraduate studies, which are generally considered weak – with Borås University College and Göteborg University as outstanding exceptions.
In the section on the labour market and recruitment, the assessors determine that there is a need for PhD’s in these subjects on the labour market outside higher education, and an even greater need for lecturers with PhD’s at the higher education institutions to develop the subject and to strengthen the links of undergraduate programmes with research. In this section the assessors also discuss the conclusions of the report published by the Royal Library (SOU 2003:Ì29) indicating the need for more PhDs in library and information science, for instance, and the letter from the DIC association (the professional association of Documentation, Information and Culture specialists) asking for more lecturers in the subject to bolster the quality of undergraduate programmes. The subject specialists appraising library and information science heartily endorse the need for significant enhancement of postgraduate programmes in this area.
On the basis of the panel’s report and analysis, the National Agency for Higher Education is calling into question the entitlement to award Master’s degrees in information and media science at Linköping University.