Online from: 1949
Subject Area: Library and Information Studies
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|Title:||Seeking serendipity: the paradox of control|
|Author(s):||Abigail McBirnie, (Oklahoma City University, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA)|
|Citation:||Abigail McBirnie, (2008) "Seeking serendipity: the paradox of control", Aslib Proceedings, Vol. 60 Iss: 6, pp.600 - 618|
|Keywords:||Individual behaviour, Information literacy, Information research|
|Article type:||Conceptual paper|
|DOI:||10.1108/00012530810924294 (Permanent URL)|
|Publisher:||Emerald Group Publishing Limited|
|Acknowledgements:||This paper is based on research undertaken for the Dissertation element of the MA/MSc Information Management (Library and Information Services) programme at Thames Valley University.|
Purpose – This paper aims to present selected findings of a recent study of serendipity in information seeking, exploring the paradox of control inherent in the concept of “seeking serendipity”.
Design/methodology/approach – After providing an overview of the research study, the paper locates the research findings in the context of the literature. The discussion explores the research findings in relation to both the paradox of control and the related concept of “seeking serendipity”.
Findings – The definition/description of serendipity is examined, the concept of process-perception duality is introduced, and links with the literature are explored. The discussion reassesses the paradox of control in light of the research findings, raising the possibility that information literacy educators have a role to play in developing the perception aspect of serendipity.
Practical implications – The paper proposes that, despite the possibly uncomfortable challenges presented by the paradox of control, serendipity deserves more recognition in professional practice. Increased acknowledgement and understanding of serendipity may enable professional practitioners to function more effectively in the unpredictable, dynamic environment that informs the reality of information seeking.
Originality/value – The paper adds to the limited existing empirical research investigating serendipity, increasing both academic and practical understanding of the phenomenon. In particular, the introduction of the concept of process-perception duality provides a useful grounding for future research.
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