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Exhibit defines misunderstood library terms

  • Image of exhibit panels.
  • Image of exhibition
  • Image of exhibition

Posted on March 20, 2017

"Scholarly," "peer review," "abstract" and "citation" are a few of the many words commonly used in library settings, but they are also words that can be easily misunderstood by students. A new exhibit at Grand Valley, created by students for students, is defining these key terms.

"Graphic Language in the Library" is an informational exhibit designed by three student graphic design teams. Each team created campaigns consisting of both visual and text pieces that illustrate the definitions of frequently used and misconstrued library terms.

The exhibit will be on display March 20-29 in the Mary Idema Pew Library Exhibition Space, located on the atrium level.

The idea for the exhibit derived from a study written, in part, by Gayle Schaub, library liaison for liberal arts programs at Grand Valley. The study, "The Languages of Information Literacy: Do Students Understand?" explores the disconnect between students and common terms used in libraries.

"Students really need to understand the language we use in instruction to be successful," said Schaub. "We cannot assume that they know the words we toss around in the classroom and in course materials."

Vinicius Lima, assistant professor of graphic design and foundations, and faculty adviser for the exhibit, said the showcase will hopefully provide a more comfortable experience for students when it comes to research.

"In order to develop a sense of control over research materials, a student must understand its terminology along with its concepts and practices," he said. "The understanding of these terms is an essential skill for the development of scholarly research."

Joshua Ford, a senior majoring in studio art, said he hopes this exhibit ultimately improves the learning capabilities of his fellow students at Grand Valley.

"These terms that are misunderstood in the moment are often disregarded, but if we help teach these terms to students through our designs, then we will have succeeded both as peers and graphic designers," he said. 

Schaub said the exhibit team hopes to use pieces from the showcase to create a visual glossary that will be distributed throughout the libraries on both the Allendale and Pew Grand Rapids campuses.

For more information, contact University Libraries at (616) 331-3500.