November 18, 2014: Serendipity models — How we encounter information and people in digital environments

KMDI Speaker Series Lecture


Dr Anabel Quan-Haase


When: November 18, 5:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Where: Bahen Building, main floor Room 1220, 40 St. George Street,Toronto

Abstract: 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.

Bio: Anabel Quan-Haase is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies and the Department of Sociology, the University of Western Ontario. Currently, she is the director of the SocioDigital Lab at Western. Dr. Quan-Haase holds a MSc. in Psychology from Humboldt University, Berlin and a Ph.D. in Information Studies from the University of Toronto. Her current interests also lie in how electronic resources are changing the nature of scholarship, innovation, and creativity. One key interest lies in how such factors as serendipity, insight, and work routines are changing through digital tools. She currently holds a SSHRC Insight Grant to study serendipity and digital environments in the humanities. She is the author of over 40 articles, proceedings, and book chapters. Her articles have been published in American Behavioral Scientist, The Information Society, Information, Communication, & Society, Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, and Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication. Dr. Quan-Haase is the author of two books Technology and Society (2013 with Oxford University Press) and Information Brokering in the High-Tech Industry (2009 with Lambert).



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