BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The 4,000-plus international students who begin
classes this semester at the University at Buffalo will find
enhanced resources on the UB Libraries' Web site suggested by their
peers and developed by the libraries especially for them.
The project was conducted over the past several months by UB
Associate Librarian Dorothy Tao and Senior Assistant Librarian
Ligaya Ganster. They serve as liaisons for international students,
who now make up nearly 15 percent of UB's student population, the
largest percentage of any public research university in the United
Stephen Dunnett, Ph.D., UB's vice provost for international
education, calls the Web project "an excellent service for our
international students, many of whom are intimidated by our huge
decentralized library system."
Ganster says, "We had our own ideas of what was needed, of
course, but to insure that we offered students information they
want in a format they can easily use, we enlisted the aid of other
international students who served as advisors and focus group
The result of the joint effort is UB's "Resources for
International Students" at http://library.buffalo.edu/libraries/gethelp/international.
"We offer a detailed library orientation for international
students before classes begin and, of course, all of our librarians
are available in person to assist," says Ganster, "but these
students have special needs.
"If they run into a problem, for instance, some of them may have
difficulty asking for help in person," Tao says. "They are young
and in a foreign country, many for the first time. They may not
know the proper etiquette for asking for help or are afraid their
English isn't adequate to the task. Others come from cultures in
which they are not encouraged to question those who are older or in
authority. So the anonymity and convenience of the Internet is
particularly helpful to them."
The new Web pages include many new features of particular use to
those students. They explain the libraries' "Ask a Librarian"
in language very clear to non-native English speakers, describing
how to use instant messaging, email and the libraries' Facebook
The pages also offer research tips, explain the interlibrary
loan process and describe how documents can be expressed to the
user upon request. They present a multi-lingual glossary of library
terms and a link to a site that translates English library terms
into multiple languages.
There is also an explanation of how to use UB's open-stack
"This may seem obvious, but open stacks are not found
worldwide," says Tao. "Many students come from countries in which
users cannot peruse library collections, but must request a
specific book or document and wait for the librarian to bring it to
them. Recognition of this difference and guidance in using the open
stacks is most welcome by students already overwhelmed with new
At the suggestion of the student advisors, the site also
describes how to find books, audio and video recordings in foreign
languages in the collection for leisure reading and
There are links to language dictionaries and to multi-language
periodicals and foreign language newspapers, some in the UB
collection and others online at Lexis Nexis Academic, the Foreign
Language News Guide, the MIT Libraries and the Internet Public
In addition, there is information about how to access a variety
of English-as-a-second-language resources at UB and links to others
on the Web.
Ganster says, "We will also add two downloadable library tours
in Japanese and Mandarin. Most students speak English as a
requirement of their studies here, but these will offer additional
The students who served as advisors on the project are Hee Jion
Choi, an English department Ph.D. student from Korea; Kevin In-Ju
L. Lim of Singapore, a Ph.D. student in the Department of
Communication; Hiok Hoe E. Ng, also of Singapore, an M.Arch.
student in the School of Architecture and Planning, and Yungting
Fu, an MLS candidate in the Department of Information and Library
Studies. Site design was provided by Libraries' Instructional
Support Technician Scott Hollander.
Last year UB's international students (most of whom come from
Korea, India and China) contributed more than $79 million to the
Western New York economy according to "The Economic Benefits of
International Education to the United States for the 2006-2007
Academic Year: A Statistical Report" published by the Association
of International Educators.
The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public
university, a flagship institution in the State University of New
York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's
more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through
more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree
programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of
the Association of American Universities.