Chance Encounters in the Digital Library
Elaine, Toms G.
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While many digital libraries focus on supporting defined tasks that require targeted searching, there is potential for enabling serendipitous discovery that can serve multiple purposes from aiding with the targeted search to suggesting new approaches, methods and ideas. In this research we embedded a tool in a novel interface to suggest other pages to examine in order to assess how that tool might be used while doing focused searching. While only 40% of the participants used the tool, all assessed its usefulness or perceived usefulness. Most participants used it as a source of new terms and concepts to support their current tasks; a few noted the novelty and perceived its potential value in serving as a stimulant.