The Prevalence of Arabic and Ajami Manuscripts in Northern Nigeria, Implications for Acccess, Use, and Enduring Management: A Framework For Research
Department of Library and Information Sciences
A paper presented at a National Conference on Exploring Nigeria’s Arabic/Ajami Manuscript Resources for Development of New Knowledge, organized by Arewa House and Ford Foundation Office of West Africa Region, Kaduna, Nigeria, 7th-8th May, 2009
Arabic and Ajami manuscripts constitute an important aspect of the intellectual heritage of the peoples of Northern Nigeria. Their value in administration, law, scholasticism, historical construction and cultural preservation cannot be overemphasized. Their subjects matter are diverse which cover Languages and Linguistic, History, Diplomacy, Law, Sociology, Economics, Politics, Education, Literature, Culture, Geography, Architecture, Medicine, Communications, Science, Technology, Epistemology, Philosophy and Logic. (Batiste, 2007 and Saeed 2007). They imbibe a veritable body of knowledge which can be sustainably explored for the benefit of present and future generations of humanity. However, this can only be possible if under conditions of optimum access and use by information seekers which may include Administrators, Politicians, Scholars, Researchers, Members of the Judiciary and even Social Workers. Indicators such as the literature suggest ample abundance of Arabic and Ajami manuscripts in Northern Nigeria. These manuscripts however, are held at scattered locations and under various, sometimes undeterminable conditions of management and care, which greatly affect access to them and their use as well as enduring maangement.
In order to ensure access, effective use and maangement, it is imperative that a study be conducted to determine their prevalence (existence) and the conditions under which they are held, managed and preserved. This paper presents a modest attempt at providing a framework for undertaking the study by highlighting the major elements of the study and its subsequent report.
Statement of the Problem
Arabic and Ajami manuscripts abound in Northern Nigeria in great amount with actual and potential values for administration, research, teaching/learning, language development, cultural preservation and acquisition of general knowledge. They cover wide range of subject areas including politics, linguistics, law, history, medicine, sciences, culture, technology, architecture, philosophy, spiritualism and logic. Those manuscripts are held, and managed by varied agencies, individuals and families, in scattered and sometimes undetermined locations and conditions.
In order to attain their maximum value, there should be optimum access to them and their effective use by interested groups and individuals such as Administrators, Politicians, Scholars, Researchers, Artists, and Social Workers.
In order to ensure such access and use as well as enduring management, there is the need to first empirically determine their existence (including types, amount, subject coverage, locations and ownership), and conditions of management including preservation. Lack of such empirical knowledge is considered a problem worthy of been addressed.
The study will be guided by the following research questions.
The study will seek to achieve the following objectives
Review of Related Literature
Literature will be reviewed under the following sub-headings:
1. Theoretical Framework
2. Historical Generations, Perspectives on the Use of Arabic and Ajami Manuscripts.
3. History of Arabic and Ajami Manuscripts in Northern Nigeria.
4. Contemporary State of Arabic and Ajami Manuscripts in Northern Nigeria: Availability, Management, Preservation, Accessibility, and Use.
5. Challenges of Access, Use, and Management of Arabic and Ajami Manuscript in Northern Nigeria.
Operational Definitions of Research Concepts
Research concepts to be defined operationally for clarity in understanding the study and its report may include
1. Research Techniques
2. Agencies and persons to be contacted for data on the study should include:
Others may include:
Instruments for Data Collection
Historical perspectives on the generation and use of Arabic and Ajami Manuscripts
Choice of Research Technique
Presentation and Analysis of Data
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