Faculty Spotlight

Serendipitous Finding of Information

Professor Naresh Agarwal attempts to include serendipity in information behavior models.

Serendipitous or accidental discovery of information has often been neglected in information behavior models, which tend to focus on information seeking, a more goal-directed behavior. In a paper in Information Research, Associate Professor Agarwal from the College of Organizational, Computational, and Information Sciences, defines terms relevant to serendipity. 

By building on existing literature and conceptual frameworks, he attempts to include serendipity in information behavior models. The main contribution is to map the conceptual space of serendipity in information behavior and to arrive at a definition for serendipity in the field of information behavior. In a panel discussion presented in 2015 at the 78th Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) Annual Meeting in St. Louis, MO., Agarwal discussed scenarios of serendipitous finding when not looking for anything in particular, and of finding relevant information on something other than what one is currently looking for. The frameworks arrived at should help further shared understanding and more research in this area.

Information Behavior Model

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