Amplifying chance for positive action and serendipity by design

Sarah A. Buchanan*, Sabrina Sauer, Anabel Quan-Haase, Naresh Kumar Agarwal, Sanda Erdelez

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    In recent years, there has been an increased focus on information encountering and serendipity within information behavior research and practice. Serendipity has the potential to facilitate creativity and innovation in various spheres, including in libraries, archives and museums. However, do we wait for chance to occur, or can serendipity be designed and facilitated? What are the characteristics of systems that support serendipitous discovery, and what methods can be used to study its occurrence? Extending and building on the concepts and definitions introduced at a 2016 ASIS&T Annual Meeting panel led by Erdelez, we feature in this 40‐min panel innovative work that creates opportunities for discovery within research spaces. Attendees engage through an interactive two‐part discussion and a hands‐on ideation session on impacts and guidelines for systems designed to facilitate serendipity, emphasizing sustainable, accessible researcher and user experiences. Presenters focus on the role of socio‐technical constraints and affordances to inform systems' design in a variety of research contexts, each contributing expertise in navigating particular issues in serendipity research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere288
    Number of pages5
    JournalProceedings of the Association for Information Science and Technology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 22-Oct-2020


    • serendipity
    • humanities collections
    • digital libraries
    • digital archives
    • information behavior

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