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John Hickok California State University Fullerton, USA A Comparison of Library Instruction between Hong Kong and U.S. Academic Libraries.

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Presentation on theme: "John Hickok California State University Fullerton, USA A Comparison of Library Instruction between Hong Kong and U.S. Academic Libraries."— Presentation transcript:

1 John Hickok California State University Fullerton, USA A Comparison of Library Instruction between Hong Kong and U.S. Academic Libraries

2 ABSTRACT Each year, students from all parts of Asia—including Hong Kong—study abroad to the USA. While there, they encounter U.S. libraries and research expectations that might be different than what they are used to in their own country. This prompts several questions: what similarities and differences are there in library instruction (i.e. research training) offered in U.S. libraries compared to libraries in Asian countries? Do students learn library organization/classification the same? Are online & database search strategies taught similarly? How are research skills taught, comparatively? This presentation will discuss the presenter’s research in this regard. Library instruction methods and programs at academic libraries—in both the U.S. and throughout Asia—are being chronicled and analyzed by the presenter. Trends, strategies, differences, and commonalities are all being evaluated. Some preliminary results are already available between U.S. and Hong Kong libraries. They show both similarities—such as database-specific training—as well as differences, such as bilingual language issues. These results are interesting to discover, especially in light of increased resource sharing and electronic connections between U.S. and Asian libraries.

3 First… A Review of the Literature Research into the two largest scholarly Library Science databases (LISA & LibraryLit) provided much on Information Literacy training in general, but surprisingly little specific to Hong Kong.

4 LISA DE=user training DE=university libraries =1,150 articles DE=user training DE=university libraries KW=“Hong Kong” = 1 article

5 LibraryLit DE=Bibliographic instruction-- College & University Students =1,461 articles DE=Bibliographic instruction-- College & University Students KW=“Hong Kong” = 1 article

6 Thus… An inviting area for more research!

7 Areas of Comparison HK vs. US approaches to library instruction -- in-person -- online HK vs. US challenges in library instruction

8 In-person library instruction Historically, in academic libraries, this has typically occurred as one or more of 3 approaches: 1.A library skills component built-in to an academic course (e.g., English 101, or Freshman Studies 100, or Computer Science 101, etc.) (typically several library sessions) 2.A professor-requested library session for his/her class (typically a 1+ hour session) 3.A workshop/seminar offered by the library on specific library/Information Literacy skills (e.g., “How to search databases”) (typically a 1+ hour session)

9 Regarding #1 (“A library skills component built-in to an academic course”)… This often reflects a university-wide (or a college/department-wide) requirement/commitment/policy toward information literacy.

10 Example of #1 in the literature:

11 Regarding #2 (“A professor-requested library session for his/her class”)… This is the traditional “subject-specific bibliographic instruction session.” Librarians have been conducting these type of sessions for decades (with the content/technology varying).

12 Example of #2 in the literature:

13 Regarding #3 (“A workshop/seminar offered by the library”)… Librarians have also been conducting these type of sessions for decades: from “How to use the card catalog” of past decades… to “Advanced database search strategies” of today.

14 Example of #3 in the literature:

15 Each approach has its advocates and arguments… #1 advocates say an institutional-wide buy-in is the only way to seriously achieve information literacy #2 advocates argue subject-specific sessions are best because they are most meaningful (contextual) for students #3 advocates argue that workshops offer the greatest flexibility and point-of-need to a busy & diverse student body

16 From a synthesis of the literature, perhaps it is not best to think of these approaches as “either/or”, but rather, as multiple tools to combine & blend, in a custom-tailored strategy.

17 Example of combined/blended from the literature:

18 Regarding Hong Kong academic libraries’ approaches: All 3 approaches were found. Some emphasized one over another. Some employed a blending/combination. The following chart shows the approaches of 4 randomly-selected libraries (anonymous) among Hong Kong’s 8 major universities:

19 Hong Kong Libraries’ in-person instructional approaches Component Professor-requested Workshops in a course? course-specific sessions (per semester) (per semester) Library “A” yes 25 8 Library “B” sort of45 25 Library “C” sort of 8 32 Library “D” no 25 43

20 And in comparison, U.S. academic libraries’ in-person instructional approaches… (4 U.S. academic libraries were also randomly/anonymously selected—from a list of libraries covering several states with large urban universities (20,000+ enrollment) to parallel HK universities)

21 U.S. Libraries’ in-person approaches Component Professor-requested Workshops in a course? course-specific sessions (per semester) (per semester) Library “A” yes Library “B” no72 15 Library “C” no Library “D” sort of 25 40

22 Analysis… No single approach is dominant in either Hong Kong or the U.S.; approaches vary from university to university in both countries.

23 Online Library Instruction Historically, this has evolved along with technology. First, just text guides (reprints of library paper guides). Then pictures for “photo tours”. Then audio sound clips or slide shows or streaming video. And now Java/Flash interactivity.

24 A U.S. example: Streaming video tour of the library & accompanying interactive quiz

25 A Hong Kong example: Interactive Information Literacy tutorial using Flash graphics

26 Hong Kong Libraries’ online instructional approaches A webpage of some type Features of the page? of library/IL instruction? Library “A” yes interactive Java tutorial Library “B” yes multimedia + Flash Library “C” yes Macromedia interactive Library “D” yes text only

27 U.S. Libraries’ online instructional approaches A webpage of some type Features of the page? of library/IL instruction? Library “A” yes streaming video & quiz Library “B” yes text only (w/ some pics) Library “C” yes Java interactive tutorial Library “D” yes multimedia + Flash

28 Analysis… The common trend among libraries in both countries is to capitalize on newer Web features—e.g. multimedia, interactivity—to enhance online instruction (beyond text-only).

29 Common challenges for HK-U.S. library instruction Students in both countries think “going onto Google” is the same thing as academic research Having administrators/professors understand that computer competency and information literacy are not the same Students increasingly busier! (part-time jobs, increased class loads, etc.)

30 Different challenges for HK-U.S. library instruction Hong Kong: cultural/traditional aspect of students not wanting to ask questions, ask for help Hong Kong: bilingual challenges—some students wanting more in Chinese (e.g., Website text) U.S.: a larger assortment of cultures and immigrant backgrounds to deal with

31 Conclusions More commonalities than differences Technology has been a catalyst for common-ground (e.g., universal database interfaces) Cross-cultural exchanges add to innovation in instruction (e.g., Librarian training outside of HK)


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