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"Making my own luck": Serendipity strategies and how to support them in digital information environments

Makri, S., Blandford, A., Woods, M. , Sharples, S. & Maxwell, D. (2014). "Making my own luck": Serendipity strategies and how to support them in digital information environments. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 65(11), pp. 2179-2194. doi: 10.1002/asi.23200


Serendipity occurs when unexpected circumstances and an 'aha' moment of insight result in a valuable, unanticipated outcome. Designing digital information environments to support serendipity can not only provide users with new knowledge, but also propel them in exciting directions they might not otherwise have travelled in - surprising and delighting them along the way. As serendipity involves unexpected circumstances it cannot be directly controlled, but it can potentially be influenced. However, to the best of our knowledge, no previous work has focused on providing a rich empirical understanding of how it might be influenced. We interviewed 14 creative professionals to identify their self-reported strategies aimed at increasing the likelihood of serendipity. These strategies form a framework for examining ways existing digital environments support serendipity and for considering how future environments can create opportunities for it. This is a new way of thinking about how to design for serendipity; by supporting the strategies found to increase its likelihood rather than attempting to support serendipity as a discrete phenomenon, digital environments not only have the potential to help users experience serendipity but also encourage them to adopt the strategies necessary to experience it more often.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Bawden, D., Robinson, L. and Siddiqui, T. (2015), “Potentialities or possibilities”: Towards quantum information science?. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 66: 437–449., which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.
Publisher Keywords: Serendipity; serendipitous; luck; encountering; chance; insight; creativity; design; digital information environments; information encountering
Subjects: Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Media, Culture & Creative Industries > Library & Information Science
SWORD Depositor:
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