Serendipity: Making your own luck

The role of the enterprise search user interface in stimulating serendipitous information encounters through presentation of the ‘unusual’.

The second paper published as part of the research study, was an experiment to stimulate serendipity in the search process through colour coded unusual word associations, tested with scientists in two organizations. It was presented at ICKM 2014 in Turkey.

Searching and browsing for unusual associations
Searching and browsing for unusual associations

Creating Sparks: Comparing Search Results Using Discriminatory Search Term Word Co-Occurrence to Facilitate Serendipity in the Enterprise

Categories or tags that appear in faceted search interfaces which are representative of an information item, rarely convey unexpected or non-obvious associated concepts buried within search results. No prior research has been identified which assesses the usefulness of discriminative search term word co-occurrence to generate facets to act as catalysts to facilitate insightful and serendipitous encounters during exploratory search. In this study, 53 scientists from two organisations interacted with semi-interactive stimuli, 74% expressing a large/moderate desire to use such techniques within their workplace. Preferences were shown for certain algorithms and colour coding. Insightful and serendipitous encounters were identified. These techniques appear to offer a significant improvement over existing approaches used within the study organisations, providing further evidence that insightful and serendipitous encounters can be facilitated in the search user interface. This research has implications for organisational learning, knowledge discovery and exploratory search interface design.
Presentation online here and Slideshare
Journal of Information and Knowledge Management (JIKM) paper here
Making Your Own Luck Article in the Geoscientist

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