Discovery, surprises, and info lit

Treasure chest mural in subway station
By Globetrotter19 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
To better use it in my teaching I have spent extra time with OneSearch, the library’s discovery tool.  Such tools show us how searching is strategic (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2015).  Strategy does not preclude surprises, though.

On July 11 I searched for recent scholarly items on portfolios and media education.  Limiting for scholarly & peer-review brought my list of 175, 987 results down to 26, 304.  Then I limited for the discipline of journalism & communications: my list went down to 620 items.  Finally I limited for the date range of January 1, 2015 to July 1, 2016.  I ended up with 58 results.

Despite my strategic use of limits I still encountered surprises.  When I tried to replicate the search, I ended up with 14 results instead of 58.   Then I noticed that I had accidentally limited the date to the 2016 results.  In this case a surprise reminded me to remain mindful.

I found among my results a relevant, but unexpected, article about digital badges (Devedzic & Jovanovic, 2015).   After the second keynote at the May Faculty Institute I found this article interesting.  Thus strategy still leaves room for serendipity.  The ACRL Framework  includes “inquiry, discovery, and serendipity–emphasis mine (2015, Searching as Strategic Exploration section).”


Association of College & Research Libraries. (2015).  Framework for information literacy for higher education. Retrieved from ACRL website:

Devedzic, V., & Jovanovic, J. (2015). Developing open badges: A comprehensive approach.  Educational Technology Research and Development,

63(4), 603-620.  doi:10.1007/s11423-015-9388-3


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