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ERIC Number: EJ946482
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 25
ISSN: ISSN-1368-1613
Measuring the Dimensions of Serendipity in Digital Environments
McCay-Peet, Lori; Toms, Elaine
Information Research: An International Electronic Journal, v16 n3 Sep 2011
Introduction: Serendipitous information retrieval is the perhaps inevitable consequence of immersion in an information-rich environment. Just how well chance encounters are supported, however, within these environments varies and one of the challenges to the development of tools and systems to facilitate serendipity is measuring how well they achieve this goal. This research developed a scale to measure dimensions of serendipity identified in prior research. Method: Participants (N=123) browsed an experimental information search system for twenty minutes with no a priori task and responded to a twenty-item survey questionnaire. Items were derived from the serendipity dimensions of a physical library setting devised by Bjorneborn. Analysis: Exploratory factor analysis using the Principal Component Analysis as the method of extraction was carried out on the data. The analysis was undertaken using the SPSS statistical package. Results: Five factors were extracted representing core elements of support for serendipity in a digital environment: "enabled connections", "introduced the unexpected", "presented variety", "triggered divergence", and "induced curiosity". In addition, four of the original twenty items were eliminated from the survey. Conclusions: While the physical dimensions of serendipity do map on to the digital dimensions, it is unknown whether there are additional dimensions of serendipity not present in the physical environment. (Contains 3 tables.)
Thomas D. Wilson. 9 Broomfield Road, Broomhill, Sheffield, S10 2SE, UK. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A