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An exploration of ethnic minorities' needs for multilingual information access of public digital cultural services

Dan Wu (School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China) (Center for Studies of Human-Computer Interaction and User Behavior, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Shu Fan (School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Shengyi Yao (School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)
Shuang Xu (School of Information Management, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 1 April 2022

Issue publication date: 10 January 2023

265

Abstract

Purpose

Ethnic minorities (EMs), who make up a sizable proportion of multilingual users, are more likely to browse and search in their native language. It is helpful to identify multilingual users' information needs to provide public digital cultural services (PDCS) for making their life better.

Design/methodology/approach

The in-context interview is an efficient way to explore EMs' information needs and evoke their daily experience with PDCS. The material from 31 one-on-one interviews with EMs in China was recorded and analyzed using thematic analysis.

Findings

The findings reveal that language proficiency is a critical factor influencing multilingual information access (MLIA) and multilingual users' information needs. Moreover, language ability, digital literacy and cultural literacy are important components of multilingual information literacy (MLIL), which is helpful for EMs to access PDCS. In light of Kochen's theory, the information needs of PDCS can be classified into the aroused need of resources, the recognized need of functions and services and expressed need. For the expressed need, it is necessary to develop a one-stop convergence platform of PDCS to process various requests of resources, functions and services in the future.

Originality/value

The findings will be valuable for governments, public institutions and social organizations in identifying, addressing and resolving these issues about PDCS.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Social Science Fund of China under Grant No. 19ZDA341.

Citation

Wu, D., Fan, S., Yao, S. and Xu, S. (2023), "An exploration of ethnic minorities' needs for multilingual information access of public digital cultural services", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 79 No. 1, pp. 1-20. https://doi.org/10.1108/JD-12-2021-0238

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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