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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

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Language Preferences of Database Usage among International Students

  1. 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. 2. Introduction <ul><li>Thousands of international students to study in the United States </li></ul><ul><li>Serving international students in the library is a challenge </li></ul><ul><li>Librarians need to make efforts to reach non-native English speakers </li></ul>
  3. 3. Background <ul><li>Communication and cultural issues </li></ul><ul><li>Customized bibliographic instruction for international students </li></ul><ul><li>Differences in library search skills </li></ul><ul><li>International students’ previous library experience </li></ul><ul><li>Library jargon </li></ul>
  4. 4. Methodology <ul><li>Surveyed international students at CMSU and SLU whose native language are Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and French </li></ul><ul><li>Questions asked about student use of library, language use while conducting research, and instruction language preference </li></ul>
  5. 5. Findings <ul><li>Students are comfortable searching databases in English, though would like instruction in their native language </li></ul><ul><li>Interest in receiving library assistance and tutorials in their native language </li></ul><ul><li>The more time in the U.S., the less instruction needed in their native language </li></ul>
  6. 8. Suggestions <ul><li>Library tours by bilingual librarians on issues such as technology, copyright, library services, and rules </li></ul><ul><li>Create bilingual glossaries of library terms </li></ul><ul><li>Provide bilingual tutorials and subject guides </li></ul><ul><li>Coordinate with the International Office to set up library instruction sessions and tours as soon as students arrive on campus </li></ul>
  7. 9. Suggestions <ul><li>Multilingual personnel sharing among consortia </li></ul><ul><li>Initial and follow up assessment of activities tailored to international students </li></ul><ul><li>Inviting international upperclassmen to conduct library tours and share their library experiences </li></ul><ul><li>Closely watch and evaluate new library technologies that may be beneficial to international students </li></ul>
  8. 10. Summary <ul><li>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. </li></ul>