Doctor Discovers Librarians Are On Her Research Team

Dr. Elizabeth Malm-Buatsi didn’t know where to turn when she wanted to improve her standing as a researcher. As the only pediatric urologist at MU HealthCare, and often called away for surgeries, she had no built-in research team she could lean on. After flying solo for a few months, she found herself on the verge of abandoning projects she was passionate about, frustrated by the research process and unsure how to proceed. Luckily, a colleague suggested she contact Diane Johnson at the Health Sciences Library. Dr. Malm-Buatsi says that initial meeting was absolutely lifechanging

When she first contacted Diane, Dr. Malm-Buatsi was creating an educational flyer to give to parents about newborn circumcisions. In order to provide this vital information to parents about the process, she needed to find the best evidence-based research, but she already conducted a literature search and found no information after several hours of searching. Diane, however, was able to find the information in the matter of minutes, at least that’s how Dr. Malm-Buatsi describes it. “Ever since meeting Diane, my outlook on research projects has changed,” she says, “and I’ve learned to enjoy the process. She makes sure to keep me on track, makes the process easier, and helps me think critically about what I’m working on.”

Diane Johnson

Diane’s assistance wasn’t limited to the patient education project. Dr. Malm-Buatsi was also in the midst of applying for an internal grant related to the urinary microbiome. Diane conducted literature searches and created an EndNote Library, not only adding relevant articles, but also pointing out the most relevant sections of information. “Diane was able to cut the time I would’ve spent on researching in half.” Dr. Malm-Buatsi says the grant proposal was recently accepted, and she expects Diane will still be an integral contributor of the project. Diane has also found several additional grant opportunities for Dr. Malm-Buatsi to pursue.

Two projects wasn’t enough for Dr. Malm-Buatsi, though. She also wanted to assess residents’ satisfaction with and the perceived usefulness of an online surgical training system, including a pre-surgery assessment that allows the residents to set goals and view videos before surgery. They determined the best way to capture these qualitative results was developing a survey. Caryn Scoville, Information Services Librarian, consulted with Dr. Malm-Buatsi, designed the survey in Qualtrics, and distributed it to the residents. Dr. Malm-Buatsi and her colleagues submitted an abstract about their system, and although it hasn’t been accepted yet, she is positive it will, in large part because of Caryn’s behind-the-scenes work.

Caryn Scoville

Looking to strengthen your own research profile? Dr. Malm-Buatsi suggests consulting with your librarians from day one of your project and learning how they can contribute to your research process. “They are so open and I feel I can bounce my ideas off of them,” she says. Dr. Malm-Buasi has also discovered an unanticipated benefit: “Now that I am in their minds, I often receive emails with suggestions or pieces of information related to my projects.Their help has had a huge impact on my career.”

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or work, please use the Cycle of Success form.

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Schuermann, Sue

I am the Senior Library Specialist at the Journalism Library. I have over 27 years experience helping patrons with research, technology and outreach.

home Cycle of Success, Ellis Library Institutional Support Models Could Revolutionize Open Access Publishing

Institutional Support Models Could Revolutionize Open Access Publishing

In addition to “producing grammatical descriptions and dictionaries for four varieties of the Luyia language cluster in western Kenya,” Michael Marlo is an Associate Professor of English and Linguistics and a member of the editorial board of the Language Science Press‘s Contemporary African Linguistics series. Language Science Press is an open access publisher of peer-reviewed linguistics books, including textbooks, and neither readers nor authors pay fees under the Knowledge Unlatched model, which instead relies on financial pledges from institutions and libraries to fund open access projects.

Michael’s editorship originally grew out of a desire to find a financially reasonable publishing outlet for the proceedings of the Annual Conference on African Linguistics. When researching potential publishers for book projects related to his National Science Foundation project, Structure and Tone in Luyia, he had also made note of their African Language Grammars and Dictionaries series.

“One of the major obstacles to the development of the field of linguistics is access to research results,” Michael says. For example, access to the digital version of the most prestigious publisher’s grammar series costs $10,000 plus annual fees for updates. A single book costs $200. Despite the prestige, Michael doesn’t intend to pursue publication through a press with such a prohibitive pricing model because that would limit his audience to those few whose libraries can afford access. He says, “While I recognize that there are still problems of access with publications that are primarily available as PDF downloads online, due to the fact that not everyone has internet access, having my work available for anyone to download is a major improvement in access over most other publishing options, which are either too expensive for readers or require a large subvention from the author, or both.”

Anne Barker

Last summer, Michael learned that Language Science Press was pursuing the institutional support funding model and asked Anne Barker, his subject librarian, if Mizzou Libraries could contribute. He was “thrilled” to learn that some funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities were able to be put toward the initiative. Michael says, “I believe [this model] has the chance to revolutionize publishing in my field, and possibly by extension many other fields in academia.”

Anne confirms, “Librarians have long been concerned that the commercialization of scholarly communication restricts access for individuals and strains library budgets. Changing the traditional publication funding model to provide for more open access is complex and challenging, but the Knowledge Unlatched model is promising. Mizzou Libraries is glad to be able to join this endeavor.”

Michael encourages students to use MOBIUS and Interlibrary Loan to access books outside of our collection. He also encourages students to find their subject areas in the stacks and look around. “There’s a lot of great stuff in there that you won’t easily find just by searching online databases!”

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or work, please use the Cycle of Success form.

home Cycle of Success, Ellis Library, Government Information Knowledge of Sailors’ Wages Enhances Tours of Only Above-Water Whaleback Ship Museum

Knowledge of Sailors’ Wages Enhances Tours of Only Above-Water Whaleback Ship Museum

This guest post is written by Martin Karpa, Volunteer with the Superior Public Museums in Superior, Wisconsin.

My first job after graduating high school was on a ship sailing the Great Lakes. I worked the freighters for four seasons, hauling iron ore, coal, grain, sand and limestone from Duluth, MN, to Buffalo, NY, and numerous ports in between.

It was just within the last two years that projects around the home were winding down, freeing up more time for interests. With a sailing history and fondness of said, I took an interest in the Superior Public Museums, Superior, WI, of which one of the museums is the last-in-the-world above-water whaleback steamship S.S. Meteor. Volunteer efforts with the museums started out with their annual Volunteer Work Weekend held every last weekend in April when people come from across the Upper Midwest to preserve and prepare the Meteor for guests who tour the ship and learn about its history, sailing in the 1890s, the conception of its unique design and the influence this design has had on the present day shipping industry.

The first work weekend on the Meteor only piqued my interests and I wound up volunteering to come every couple of weeks or so to help out with routine seasonal maintenance on the ship. One thing leads to another, and this role in maintenance has now expanded to also being a volunteer tour guide not only for the Meteor but also at another of the museums, Fairlawn Mansion.

My opinion: dedicated tour guides are not given enough credit. These individuals put themselves out there before the general public and are expected to be the resident authority of what they are teaching, able to field any question thrown at them. Guides will learn the tour script, of course, but many will go above and beyond, gleaning all the facts they can about their particular expertise in order to answer even the most unpredictable question as best they can.

Marie Concannon

One such question was, “What were the sailors’ wages at the time?” (referring to sailors in the 1890s). I didn’t know, said so, and spent some time with the individual after the tour trying to find an answer on the internet without satisfying success. This lead to a more extensive internet search later at home, also without much concrete success. Now, I am not an idiot, but doing such specific research is not in my educational background. All of the clicking around on the net somehow lead me to Marie Concannon‘s contact information as the University of Missouri Libraries’ Head of Government Information. With mounting frustrations over negative search results and no better idea as to where to go with this question, I fired off an email to Marie last August, knowing it was a crapshoot . . . a roll of the dice . . . and I hit the jackpot!

Marie responded promptly, and a very pleasant correspondence followed, impressing me with her passion and dedication to her work. It was obvious even across the internet that she is enthusiastic about researching an issue and my hat is off to her. Information provided by Marie has now been adopted and fit into my personal script when giving tours of the S.S. Meteor, giving those interested in this aspect of our nation’s industrial history a better understanding of daily life at the end of the Victorian Era, beginning of the Gilded Age and into the Progressive Era. Being able to offer more detailed information to guests of the museum also gives them a fuller experience, which in turn helps spread an even more positive review of their visit.

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

Although the Cycle of Success typically focuses on the relationships among the Libraries, faculty, and students, the Libraries also contribute to the success of all the communities Mizzou serves. The Libraries are an integral part of Mizzou’s mission “to produce and disseminate knowledge that will improve the quality of life in the state, the nation and the world.”

If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or work, please use the Cycle of Success form.

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Jennifer Gravley

I am a Research and Instruction Librarian with a background in creative writing.

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Collaboration Builds Collections

The story of how Mizzou Libraries came to be one of the few libraries with a nearly complete set of Bildende Kunst, a visual arts journal from the former German Democratic Republic, began with an email but involved many hands. In Leipzig, Germany, on research leave, Assistant Professor Seth Howes contacted his subject librarian, Anne Barker, to ask about access to the journal after he returned to Mizzou. Without microfilm or online versions and with the closest complete set of the journal located in New York, Anne determined that access would be very difficult.

In the end, Seth considered not only “here’s why this is important to me” but also “here’s how important this is to me,” contributing some of his funds for research materials, matched by library funds, towards the purchase of additional issues.

Seth’s research focuses on the literature and experimental music and film of East Germany in its final fifteen years of existence, and Mizzou Libraries already had full print runs of the other two critical journals for his research, covering literature and music. Bildende Kunst can be translated as “Visual Art” or as “Educating Art or Art that Educates,” Seth explains. Because it reproduced art otherwise unavailable to East Germans, Bildende Kunst served as an educational magazine as well as a trade journal aimed at professionals.

Anne Barker

“One of the things that I think is very cool about having this in our collection now,” Seth says, “is that as a research institution with the teaching mission that comes with being a land-grant institution, we always need to think about how we can translate our work into teaching, and that is to a great extent what that journal did.” He plans on scheduling sessions with Special Collections in his courses so he can show students how these ideas were debated: “Can we have socialist art that looks like this? Is it not distracting or alienating to paint a worker in this way? Shouldn’t we just take recourse to 19th century realist painterly techniques?” Seth finds that students who are visual thinkers connect in a more meaningful way with a richly illustrated journal than ones that require greater language fluency to decode “communists arguing with each other.”

Anne says, “I was excited by this opportunity to enhance our research and teaching collections, but also because this adds to regional resources, making this important publication much more accessible to scholars in Missouri and surrounding states. I’m grateful for Seth’s initiative and willingness to invest his personal research funds to make this acquisition possible.”

Seth suggests that students and faculty think of “the library’s existing strengths as a jumping off point for our imagination of how to make strategic additions or strategic developments in new directions.” Despite budget challenges, he has found that “there is a will to grow the library’s resources for research and teaching, and everybody here is obviously working like mad to make resources available to students and faculty.”

Special Thanks

Many Mizzou Libraries staff members in addition to Anne played vital roles in getting the journal issues onto our shelves:

  • Corrie Hutchinson, Head of Acquisitions, identified and worked with the German vendor, determining costs and handling payments
  • Libby Myre, Senior Library Information Specialist, identified and worked with the German vendor, determining costs and handling payments, and input the journal’s information into the catalog
  • Michaelle Dorsey, Senior Library Information Specialist, with assistance from her preservation assistants, created containers to store the journal in its original format
  • Bette Stuart, Senior Library Information Specialist, input the journal’s information into the catalog
  • Kelli Hansen, Interim Head of Special Collections, provided space for the collection

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or work, please use the Cycle of Success form.

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home Cycle of Success, Ellis Library International Students Find More than Books at Ellis Library

International Students Find More than Books at Ellis Library

Before becoming an instructor in the University of Missouri’s Intensive English Program (IEP), Liza Armstrong taught a little further from home, such as at Al Akhawayn University, located in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco. Now she helps the Center for English Language Learning fulfill its mission of “providing high quality English language instruction to non-native speakers of English to prepare them for university-level studies, professional endeavors and community engagement.” Liza’s interests are in the development of second language reading and writing skills, information technology, and reading assessment, and she recently presented about text analysis tools in the development of IEP reading exams at the TESOL Convention.

My favorite part of the library session was I saw rooms that looked like a prison for graduate students who would like to concentrate more for reading.

Word of Mouth

Liza first began bringing her advanced reading classes in for library instruction based on the recommendation of Barbara Leonhard, an advanced communication instructor. At that time, emerita librarian Goodie Bhullar taught the research sessions. Liza says, “Goodie, who had been an international student herself, seemed to have an instant rapport with the students and was interested in learning students’ names, where they were from, and what their research interests were.”

Goodie’s lesson made an impression. Students didn’t just learn about the quality resources Mizzou Libraries make available to them and how to run better searches. They also got hands-on practice searching library databases to find quality sources. “Nearly every semester since then,” Liza says, “I have taken my IEP classes to the library so that students understand that at MU they have access to a huge amount of high-quality information and plenty of help in finding it.”

The Tradition Continues

I enjoyed finding book of the library session. I practiced looking for a book and felt a sense of accomplishment in Ellis library.

Today, Cindy Cotner continues to deliver the invaluable instruction that helps Liza’s reading-writing students navigate the library and become comfortable with academic research: “Cindy gave students a physical tour of the library, explaining how the circulation desk worked and where students could scan books, find resources like books and videos, study, and even grab a coffee.”

Then the work of learning how to find those suitable resources began. Students not only received the usual instruction on how to search library databases but also participated in a scavenger hunt. Cindy distributed cards with a book title and call number, and students worked in pairs to find the book on the shelves. Liza says they “enjoyed winding through the stacks of books and felt victorious when they found their books.”

Cindy also shared information about Library Workshops for International Students (LibWIS), giving students further opportunities to learn about advanced research strategies, citation management, and more.

When Liza saw her students’ essays, she was delighted to find that many had used library databases to find quality sources. Liza notes, “Many of them also indicated that they appreciated the citation tool, which helped them to write their APA reference pages more quickly and accurately.”

My favorite part was the way to make an APA citation format of books on MU library website.

Be Brave

Liza’s best advice for international students is “to be brave and ask librarians and staff questions.” She also recommends attending library workshops, especially those with a focus on international students. By learning how to use the library early in their academic careers, students can save time in the long run, create higher quality assignments, and build better study habits. “Students may think that using library databases and tools is intuitive,” she says, “but there is always new information, and library systems often change and are updated.”

In fact, Liza confesses that she herself learns something new each time her classes visit the library!

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or work, please use the Cycle of Success form.

 

home Cycle of Success, J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library Interlibrary Loan Delivers for Doctors in a Time Crunch

Interlibrary Loan Delivers for Doctors in a Time Crunch

Ever wonder who is behind the magic of Interlibrary Loan? At the Health Sciences Library it’s Katy Emerson.

She’s the one who receives your requests, scans what you need, and emails it to your inbox, all in the matter of a few hours.

If you search for an article and are hit with a paywall or told the library doesn’t have access, don’t worry! You can request it and Katy will work her magic.

Not only will she find articles the library doesn’t have access to, she will often scan items we have on site to save you the trip to your library.

“What I like most is getting to deliver articles to clinicians. It feels good knowing that the work I do could be having a positive impact on patient care.”

Last year, Katy and the Health Sciences Library’s Interlibrary Loan department borrowed close to 4500 articles and delivered another 1800 articles we had available on site all at no cost to our users. Interlibrary Loan is a free service for Mizzou.

To request articles and books, click on the Findit@MU button if it’s available or you can always fill out a request form.

 

 

 

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or workplease use the Cycle of Success form.

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home Cycle of Success, Ellis Library Libraries Are Where You Go When You Run out of Ideas

Libraries Are Where You Go When You Run out of Ideas

Research Enriches Undergraduate Writers’ Creative Nonfiction

Julija Šukys, Assistant Professor of English and creative nonfiction writer, says, “Libraries are one of my great loves. I’m a huge champion of libraries.” Much of her work is deeply researched, including her most recent books. Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Šimaitė is an unconventional biography of the Lithuanian librarian whose heroic actions saved an untold number of lives during the Holocaust, while Siberian Exile: Blood, War, and a Granddaughter’s Reckoning, published in October, investigates her own family’s complicated history.

Julija introduces her advanced undergraduate students to the pleasures of combining research and creative work by incorporating a library research day into all of her nonfiction workshops. She finds that sometimes students at this level are “starting to tell the same stories over and over again,” and research is “a way of showing them how you break out of that, how you break out of writing the same narratives. It’s a way of showing them that there’s a bigger world and to look up, to look out, and to learn something as you write. Writing is a way of actually understanding the world better.”

Example Research Topics: the history and evolution of pinball, Berlin nightclub culture, narcissistic personality disorder and marriage, personality formation in fraternal versus identical twins, the hemp industry in the United States, the link between ear infections in children and the development of speech disorders, the influence of anxiety and depression on memory formation, the history of women in cycling, and American mobility and student mobility across the countryStudents begin by drafting personal essays and then are instructed to ask themselves, “What’s the piece that I could crack open with the help of research?” At this point, Julija sends Anne Barker, her subject librarian, their list of research questions. Because the topics arise out of students’ personal stories and interests, this list can be quite quirky.

By the time students show up at the library, Anne has gathered resources appropriate to the various topics. These workshops meet for weekly for two and a half hours, so one class session can accommodate both instruction and practice. During the first half of the session, Anne introduces them to library databases and also demonstrates search strategies that facilitate research “in the broadest terms.” Julija says, “We search really wide-ranging stuff, both scholarship as well as how to find things on Google Books, how to find movies, how to find video clips that are going to be interesting and useful. Students learn that there’s this enormous world that’s available to them.”

Then during the second half of the session, students begin their quest to find two sources for their essays. They have time to run searches, ask questions, and find books in the stacks. Julija reports that students often have their first experience requesting books through MOBIUS or interlibrary loan, or as she calls it, experiencing “the pleasure of having books sent to you from other places in the world.” Some of her students end up using maps or newspapers or doing genealogical research. “What I really want them to learn,” Julija says, “is how to work in a library and how to think about resources and for them to discover the pleasure of working both with archival materials and with books.”

This assignment brings what Anne calls her “detective instincts” to the forefront. She says, “I enjoy working individually with the students to think of different angles to pursue and different types of materials that could augment their research and then seeing them return with the things they’ve discovered. It’s like opening a treasure chest whose contents they can continue to explore for a long time.”

Anne Barker

In addition to helping students find new possibilities in their writing, Anne’s instruction helps Julija accomplish her mission of teaching her students how to use libraries. “Libraries are good places to work, and libraries are places for solace,” she tells them. “Libraries can be this place where you go when you’ve run out of ideas.”

Julija advises other instructors interested in incorporating library instruction into their classes to “plan it in advance and contact the subject librarian early.” She has also found that giving students concrete tasks helps them be able to put what they’ve learned to immediate use, and another recommendation is to “give students class time to do the hands-on work.” Conducting their own research with a librarian available gives students an appropriate balance of independence and support. “It’s very individualized, and on the other hand they’re learning transferable skills.”

Julija’s advice to students is simple: “Talk to a reference librarian because they have skills you can’t even imagine.”

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or work, please use the Cycle of Success form.

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Jennifer Gravley

I am a Research and Instruction Librarian with a background in creative writing.

home Cycle of Success, Ellis Library Avoiding Plagiarism Is Less Daunting after Library Instruction

Avoiding Plagiarism Is Less Daunting after Library Instruction

Debbie Parker, instructor at the Center for English Language Learning, pinpoints a key challenge for international students: “Avoiding plagiarism is a daunting task for all students, but it is complicated by the fact that international students have different ideas about what is expected when using support in papers or presentations.”

A major assessment of the Intensive English Program’s students’ mastery of academic English is a formal speech using PowerPoint. This speech must incorporate research and requires students to produce a bibliography. Debbie took her colleague Mary Browning’s advice and contacted Cindy Cotner, the librarian for international students, to set up an instruction session about avoiding plagiarism.

Cindy immediately thought of LibWIS, a series of library workshops for international students. Two of Ellis Library’s Graduate Reference Assistants, Haley Gillilan and Victoria Knight, had recently taught a workshop on just this topic. Planning and teaching workshops is just part of the professional-level training and experience Haley and Victoria receive as GRAs while they complete their degrees in library science. They also provide research assistance in person at the Research Help and Information Desk as well as online through our chat service and assist librarians with other projects.

Haley Gillilan
Haley Gillilan

Cindy suggested that Haley and Victoria teach the session since they had already prepared a lesson on plagiarism specifically for international students. She says, “I am grateful that Debbie granted permission for our graduate students to teach in her classroom. Her students were engaged and asked good questions, and I think this activity was a learning experience for all!”

The instruction session went beyond a dry summary of “how to cite sources in academic classes without plagiarizing.” As part of Haley and Victoria’s presentation, they assessed students’ understanding using example citations. Debbie explains, “They asked the students to guess which ones were correct. If it wasn’t acceptable, the students needed to explain what was wrong with it.”

Learning about plagiarism and potential consequences from current students beholden to the same university standards of academic integrity helped reinforce the message in a unique way. Debbie says, “It also made it easier for me to reinforce the importance of citing their sources because I could refer back to the visit and remind them about the presentation that they heard.”

Victoria Knight
Victoria Knight

Victoria and Haley benefited from the opportunity to modify a workshop they’d taught before for use in an individual classroom. Victoria says, “Plagiarism is such a big topic and can differ so greatly from country to country. It was an amazing opportunity to get to take one of our library sessions out into the actual classroom. I think it was really beneficial, and it was a fun class to teach.” Haley sums it up well: “I hope that the class helped them with their academic success at Mizzou!”

Debbie wants all students, especially international students, to know that “the library offers so much more than just books.” A former student worker in Ellis Library, she says, “Librarians are an under-tapped resource which can save faculty, staff and students time and energy. The resources and the workshops can make the students’ learning experience much fuller.”

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or work, please use the Cycle of Success form.

TAGS:

Jennifer Gravley

I am a Research and Instruction Librarian with a background in creative writing.

home Cycle of Success, Ellis Library Zotero Proves to Be Valuable Research Tool for International Students

Zotero Proves to Be Valuable Research Tool for International Students

This guest post is written by Mary Browning, Instructor at the Center for English Language Learning.

In the fall of 2017, Cindy Cotner, the liaison between Ellis Library and MU international students, and I collaborated on two workshops designed to teach students in my classes about Zotero, an online tool that helps students research, collect, and cite their sources. As an instructor at the Center for English Language Learning, I am interested in discovering ways to enhance the academic experience of international students for whom English is a non-native language. Last fall, Cindy offered a Zotero workshop for 11 of my advanced students who were studying English full-time at the Intensive English Program and 25 international students who were taking my SSC 1150 College Success Seminar at MU.

Mary Browning, Na (Sabrina) Hu, Tianyu (Michael) Bai, and Kazuya Suzuki

During each workshop, Cindy patiently led the students through a progression of steps that allowed them to achieve sufficient mastery to be able to go back to their classrooms and seamlessly use Zotero in subsequent writing assignments. Because of the challenges that many international students face when studying in a non-native language, workshops offered by Ellis Library can greatly enhance their academic experience while at MU.

The Zotero workshop was a definite success: students in both of my classes were able to immediately apply the knowledge and skills they learned in Cindy’s workshop to their academic classes. They reported using Zotero to develop a personal library of relevant research sources, to access this information in real time by incorporating in-text citations while writing their essay drafts, and to create a reference page for their research essays in several strokes.

Mary Browning, Yudi (Gloria) Si, and Junjie (Betty) Qin

I’d advise any MU student, especially international students, to check out and then attend one or many of the workshops offered by Ellis Library to discover tips and techniques to use while researching and writing essays and completing other assignments. MU faculty who are interested in learning more about ways to collaborate with the library, should contact their subject librarian. Cindy is the contact for support of international students.

Mary Browning and Yiqing (Sybil) He

Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.

If you would like to submit your own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or work, please use the Cycle of Success form.