Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre and hosted by the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies (SLAIS). Much of the research on how we encounter information tends to focus on linear models of intentional information search. Recently a number of studies and frameworks have suggested that not all information individuals encounter is through goal-oriented search, but rather that individuals often find information and connect with people accidentally, without purposefully looking. A wide range of terms and models have been proposed to describe the phenomenon. The present presentation has three goals. First, it provides an overview of the current debate around the phenomenon of serendipity, presenting and contrasting various models of how serendipity occurs. Second, it discusses how technology could affect serendipity and opportunities for designing digital tools that support innovation, creativity, and resource discovery. Finally, it presents current research findings on how serendipity impacts the work of scholars.


Anabel Quan-Haase is Associate Professor of Information and Media Studies and Sociology at the University of Western Ontario. Her primary interests lies in the areas of Internet and society and computer-mediated communication. Quan-Haase’s current research investigates the uses of technology and the effects of technology on society.

Select Articles Available at UBC Library

Martin, K., & Quan-Haase, A. (2013). Are e-books replacing print books? tradition, serendipity, and opportunity in the adoption and use of e-books for historical research and teaching. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology. Volume 64, Issue 5, 1016–1028, May 2013 Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/asi.22801/abstract

Quan-Haase, A. (2012). Technology and society: Inequality, power, and social networks. Don Mills: Oxford University Press. Link: http://resolve.library.ubc.ca/cgi-bin/catsearch?bid=6356884

UBC Library Research Guides

Learning Technology

Learning Through Literacy and Technology

(This is another in an occasional series of introductory guides to UBC Archives’ collections and services)

Since the UBC Archives established its first Web presence in 1995, one of our on-going initiatives has been to highlight unique collections within our holdings, or to commemorate major events in the University’s history, through digital exhibitions or “virtual displays”.

These virtual displays use digital reproductions of photographic and other visual materials from the holdings of the University Archives to tell stories from UBC’s past:


history-of-the-gold-rushThe School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies (SLAIS) iSchool@UBC will be hosting Jim Silverman at UBC.  In his talk, Jim Silverman shares stories and pictures from children’s literary fairy tales published in California between 1868 and 1945. They range from a classic fairy tale biography of a Gold Rush eccentric called Emperor Norton, to libidinous tales spun and illustrated by a feminist-actress-mother of 10, to an Art Deco tale with a mortuary advertisement, and tales in which fairies promote a child radio star and pitch commercial products and kids discover the magic that happens by looking through a strip of colour film.


About the speaker: Jim Silverman is a librarian and historian of children and their books. Partnering with educator, Vicki Whiting, he wrote a popular newspaper feature about children in California history and supplements for The New York Times about children in New York. Jim is a Young Adult Librarian in the San Francisco Bay Area and known for grassroots programs that bring music and dance into the reading room, keeping alive the spirit of growing up in New Orleans.

Wednesday, March 27th, 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Location: Room 461, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, UBC

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