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"Glocal" Patterns of Communication-Information Convergences in Internet Use: Cross-Cultural Behavior of International Teaching Assistants in a Culturally Alien Information Environment

Publication Type:

Journal Article


The International Information & Library Review, Volume 39, p.12-30 (2007)



Culturally Alien Information Environment, Information Sciences, International


<span style="font-size: xx-small; font-family: AdvTTc9c3bd71"><span style="font-family: Times New Roman">There is minimal research on the cross-cultural needs, priorities, and</span></span><span style="font-size: xx-small; font-family: AdvTTc9c3bd71"><p align="left"> behaviors of international participants immersed in contemporary culturally alien </p><p align="left"> information environments. Through a quantitative analysis of Internet use patterns </p><p align="left"> of international teaching assistants (ITA) studying in graduate school at a </p><p align="left"> representative university in the United States, the authors discover communication- </p><p align="left"> information convergences in ITAs’ use of the Internet as a ‘‘glocal’’ network, </p><p align="left"> connecting the ‘‘global’’ and ‘‘local’’ dimensions in their everyday lives. The paper </p><p align="left"> identifies dual functions of the Internet considered meaningful to the ITAs in the </p><p align="left"> diaspora, namely: (1) to engage in various communication activities with friends and </p><p align="left"> family in their home countries (the ‘‘global’’), thereby providing psychological </p><p align="left"> comfort and overcoming social isolation; and (2) to conduct information gathering </p><p align="left"> activities that establish coping mechanisms for ITAs in their new homes in the United </p><p align="left"> States (the ‘‘local’’). The paper presents empirical data highlighting correlations </p><p align="left"> between communication and information intersections in ITAs’ use of the Internet. </p><p align="left"> Findings extend past Internet research and user studies in traditional communication </p><p align="left"> and information research, which only alluded to these communication-information </p><p align="left"> convergence processes, to better understand how international people use the </p><p align="left"> Internet in present-day cross-cultural contexts of interaction. </p></span>