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University Libraries Enriches Drexel's Global Research Experiences

April 6, 2017

Drexel University connects students, faculty and staff with the global community through research, online courses and travel abroad opportunities. The Drexel University Libraries enhances these experiences through its resources and services.

Conducting research in different countries often presents unique challenges. Limited or inconsistent electrical power, poor bandwidth, time zone differences and censored websites sometimes serve as barriers for researchers to access information and resources.

 Drexel students, faculty and staff wearing backpacks stand in a parking lot in Senegal while a man covers a buss with a tarp.

Recognizing that these issues are beyond the researcher's control, the Libraries offers suggestions and tools for Drexel travelers to prepare in advance to make remote research easier. For example, the Libraries licenses access to many journals, e-books, reports and datasets, which can be downloaded to laptops, tablets or mobile devices. Loading Drexel's virtual private network software, Cisco Any Connect, on a device prior to travel may reduce authorization roadblocks to the Libraries' subscription resources.

Liaison librarians are also available via email, and researchers can schedule online consultations with Drexel librarians even when they are outside the United States. Numerous videos and video services provide visual context and enrich the learning experience for both face-to-face and online instruction. Academic Video Online: Premium, just one of the Libraries' resources, contains streaming video on a broad array of topics that can be filtered by geographic location.

Drexel's subject liaison librarians prepare customized library guides to facilitate research especially for students when traveling abroad, and they assist faculty with designing projects and courses for students studying abroad to help build their skills in self-directed learning and information and digital literacy. Students are urged before starting their trip to use the Libraries resources to identify international organizations and community groups as part of some course assignments and to build relationships while abroad.

When Drexel researchers return from abroad, they often expect to organize, cite and present their findings. Liaison librarians consult with students and researchers on designing posters, identifying relevant journals for publication, and directing them to appropriate repositories for research data sets.  Such consultations help ensure that Drexel-generated research output is further exposed to the global academic community, in turn furthering the University's connections with scholarship around the world.

Janice Masud-Paul is the Liaison Librarian for Health Sciences Research at Drexel University Libraries.