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Language Preferences of Database Usage among International Students

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Presentation at Brick & Click conference, October 2005. With Fu Zhuo and Shuqin Jiao

Presentation at Brick & Click conference, October 2005. With Fu Zhuo and Shuqin Jiao

Published in: Education

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  • 1. To Be Or Not To Be: Language Preferences in Library Use Fu Zhuo, Central Missouri State University Jenny Emanuel, Central Missouri State University Shuqin Jiao, Saint Louis University
  • 2. Introduction
    • Thousands of international students to study in the United States
    • Serving international students in the library is a challenge
    • Librarians need to make efforts to reach non-native English speakers
  • 3. Background
    • Communication and cultural issues
    • Customized bibliographic instruction for international students
    • Differences in library search skills
    • International students’ previous library experience
    • Library jargon
  • 4. Methodology
    • Surveyed international students at CMSU and SLU whose native language are Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and French
    • Questions asked about student use of library, language use while conducting research, and instruction language preference
  • 5. Findings
    • Students are comfortable searching databases in English, though would like instruction in their native language
    • Interest in receiving library assistance and tutorials in their native language
    • The more time in the U.S., the less instruction needed in their native language
  • 6.  
  • 7.  
  • 8. Suggestions
    • Library tours by bilingual librarians on issues such as technology, copyright, library services, and rules
    • Create bilingual glossaries of library terms
    • Provide bilingual tutorials and subject guides
    • Coordinate with the International Office to set up library instruction sessions and tours as soon as students arrive on campus
  • 9. Suggestions
    • Multilingual personnel sharing among consortia
    • Initial and follow up assessment of activities tailored to international students
    • Inviting international upperclassmen to conduct library tours and share their library experiences
    • Closely watch and evaluate new library technologies that may be beneficial to international students
  • 10. Summary
    • In order to make international students’ educational experience as rewarding and successful as possible, academic librarians can play a crucial role in their academic lives and experience in the United States.