MLIS Student Risa Hatanaka receives Graduate Student CARL Research in Librarianship Grant

Risa Hatanaka, MLIS Student at the UBC iSchool, is the recepient of 2020 Graduate Student category of the Research in Librarianship Grant fund. The Canadian Association of Research Libraries’ Strengthening Capacity Committee has conferred her this award for her research: “Using Non-English Sources for Academic Research: Information-seeking Behaviours of Graduate Students”.

The awarded thesis project investigates how graduate students intentionally seek out primary and secondary sources written in Japanese for their research. This research theme grew out of her student work experience as graduate academic assistant at the UBC Asian Library and the UBC Library Digital Initiatives, in which she engaged with the UBC Library’s Japanese collection.


“Looking at the job description of the Japanese Studies Librarian, I found that a wide range of library services are covered, including reference services, collection management, collaborative work with other library units including cataloging services, rare book collections, digitization projects, etc. This prompted me to map out the roles and investigate how the patrons’ needs and current roles are corresponding to each other. When my classmate and I interviewed Asian Studies faculty members for our group project, they indicated graduate students face difficulties in locating sources, due to lack of grants, academic networks, and search skills in non-English languages”


As little has been investigated about patron’s information-seeking behaviour using non-English sources in the North American context, Risa is now interviewing MA and PhD students at UBC, whose research areas include Japan, about their information-seeking strategies to access Japanese sources. This thesis project builds on the group work done in her previous coursework. She aims that the research findings of this project will help tailor library services for graduate students using non-English sources.

Her current research interests include information-seeking behaviours and academic librarianship (area studies librarianship in particular). She is also interested in how to seek and access primary and secondary sources published and located worldwide.

The Graduate Student Research Grant was created to support library school students’ active engagement in research activities pertaining to research and/or academic libraries with the intent to publish the results and to promote research in the field of academic librarianship by and/or about Canadians. The CARL Research in Librarianship Grant is intended to support projects involving structured, evidence-based research, which propose answers to real-world issues.

For more information on the CARL Graduate Student Research Grant, please visit the CARL website.

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