Treasure Hunt at the Library

Subject: The aesthetic discipline that are affiliated with AU Library, Kasernen. Course: Introductory course in information searches (always in collaboration with the discipline). Study level: Bachelor 1st semester. Class size: Max. seven groups with optimally three students in each group.

Motivation for the activity

The library is a place of learning; so the introduction must therefore also reflect learning and the activity. The challenge is to find a way of introduction that can engage new students and make them want to come again.

Central to the course

Introductory course in information searches always takes place in collaboration with the subject. No academic needs - no hunting for information. The students must be facing a (smaller) assignment on the subject, where they have to find information themselves. In this way it is the students' needs that will be taken into account and not the library’s desire to brag about its facilities.

 Central learning outcomes for the activity

  • The new students must get to know their library and the staff
  • They must have a good and positive experience of the place
  • It is both play and learning; the students who can carry out searches and order a book must also benefit from participating
  • It must be a successful experience - the process has been planned and tested.

Description of the activity

The hunt for information is a camouflaged treasure hunt. To solve the tasks, you must obtain knowledge, and the built-in progression makes it more difficult to solve the tasks, if you do not use the acquired knowledge.

The template for the hunt for information typically consists of six or seven questions (seven is the pain threshold) with two or three additional questions.

Depending on the requirements of the course, the hunt can have a 'light', 'medium' or 'heavy’ version - this also depends on when the course chooses to follow up with more traditional teaching.

The hunt alternates between searches in catalogues/databases and tours around the library to find material.

The first two to three questions are different questions for the groups, as they must here search for a book (with errors in the description) in both the catalogue and on the shelves.

Ditto questions that involve finding articles and journals respectively in print and electronic versions.

Subsequently, questions that can be similar sounding for all groups: subject searches in the catalogue - and at - followed by questions in InfoMedia. Then searches and intro to the course’s e-reference books, and last but not least, a multiple-choice test in the form of a pools coupon, partly with repetition and bonus information.

The well-executed hunt for information is rewarded, as it should be with any treasure hunt, with a ritual chocolate covered marshmallow.

Outcome of the activity

This ‘resource approach’ is something we do with our eyes open. The introduction is not allowed to stand alone, as there are in the hunt various problems or questions that must be dealt with - questions that are based on the issues or the task that the students are facing in the teaching on the course.

The students are challenged here - not with homework, but with play - in a course that both makes sense and is enjoyable.

Reflections on the activity

All of the questions are based on topics that have relevance for the course catalogue on the course. This means that questions can only rarely be reused, as there are often different lecturers responsible for the teaching of the new students from the first year group.

The hunt for information must be carefully prepared - you must for example make sure that materials for the questions are available. Everything must run smoothly. Books that are to be hunted down not being in their correct place is really bad advertising - and it will be remembered!

You need to ensure that there is e.g. unlimited access to the databases that you wish to introduce the students to - or alternatively 'retain' one access (to which there e.g. is only one-user license) on one PC, where the groups then take turns to solve the task.


Jette Bohn

H bldg. 1582
P +4591356438