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E-Browsing: Serendipity and Questions of Access and Discovery

Authors
Publisher
Purdue e-Pubs
Publication Date
Disciplines
  • Communication

Abstract

Browsing is an essential component to discovery. Understanding the foundations of browsing patterns and preferences is crucial in developing effective e-browsing environments. It’s important to understand how researchers in diverse disciplines have described their discoveries in terms of browsing, searching, and serendipitous encounters. Examining the works of scientists, social scientists, and humanists through the lens of discovery will reveal essential components to be aware of in developing e-browsing environments. In turning to a wide range of sources, often outside traditional library literature, we deepen our understanding of what it means to browse in an electronic environment. As librarians, we have an obligation to create physical and virtual spaces that cultivate wonder and curiosity and acknowledge varied paths to discovery. Electronic browsing options must become more robust if libraries are to be vital to scholarly communication. In this presentation we focus on the language and experience of browsing, with particular attention to serendipitous discovery, in order to encourage librarians, particularly those in public service, to more effectively articulate concerns and opportunities to developers.

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