Harvard College Library News: News from around the libraries

Librarians Welcome International Grad Students

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Xiao-He Ma, Librarian for the Chinese Collection at Harvard-Yenching Library, talks with a student during the English Language Program luncheon.


August 6, 2010 – Forty-nine incoming graduate students from more than a dozen countries across the globe – including China, Japan, Taiwan, Mexico, India, Thailand, Colombia, Germany, Mongolia, Singapore, Italy, Korea, Peru and Nigeria – gathered in Lamont Library on Monday, August 2 for a lunch with Harvard librarians.

The annual event is part of the orientation for Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ (GSAS) English Language Program, and offers international students a chance to get acquainted with librarians and library resources. This year's organizers were Ramoa Islam from Harvard College Library (HCL) Services for Academic Programs (SAP) unit and Dorothy Barr from the Ernst Mayr Library of the Museum of Comparative Zoology.

Dean Garth McCavana and SAP Head Laura Farwell Blake welcomed students and before lunch brief presentations were given on: HCL's Translation Guide (a research guide written specifically to assist international students navigate the Harvard libraries) by Cabot's Ellie Clement, the two HOLLISes by HCL's Ramona Islam, and E-resources by Wolbach's Michael Blake.

Students were assigned luncheon tables by concentration(s) and seated with a librarian who works in a related library. For students studying Systems Biology and Molecular and Cellular Biology, Reed Lowrie, Science Reference and Cartographic Librarian at Cabot Science Library demonstrated how students can use online resources like PubMed and the Web of Science to locate journal articles.

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At another table, Xiao-He Ma, Librarian for the Chinese Collection at Harvard-Yenching Library, answered questions relating to circulation policies, described how to find the full text of journal articles online, and gave an overview of Harvard-Yenching’s collections.

Others who took part in the event were: Michael Leach from Cabot Science Library; Carol Mita from Countway Library; Josh Koritz and Casey Maniscalco from the Gordon McKay Library; Diane Sredl from Lamont Library; Greg Finnegan from Tozzer Library; and Mary Beth Clack, Cheryl LaGuardia, and Mikel Kearns from SAP.

This year's format, which was new and designed as a group learning opporutnity, was devised by the HCL Teaching & Learning Standing Committee that includes Islam, Pam Matz, James Capobianco, and Liza Vick.

“Overall, the event was a success,” said Farwell Blake.. “Students filled out surveys about the libraries, and nearly all said they would feel comfortable contacting a librarian for assistance in the future, and many said the presentations were a useful introduction to library resources.”