Anabel Quan-Haase – Serendipity Models: How We Encounter Information and People in Digital Environments

On February 27, 2012, 12.00PM-1.00PM, the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies (SLAIS) will be hosting Anabel Quan-Haase for her talk “Serendipity Models: How We Encounter Information and People in Digital Environments” at the Lillooet Room, Room 301 of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre.

Much of the research on how we encounter information tends to focus on linear models of intentional information search. Recently a number of studies and frameworks have suggested that not all information individuals encounter is through goal-oriented search, but rather that individuals often find information and connect with people accidentally, without purposefully looking. A wide range of terms and models have been proposed to describe the phenomenon. The present presentation has three goals. First, it provides an overview of the current debate around the phenomenon of serendipity, presenting and contrasting various models of how serendipity occurs. Second, it discusses how technology could affect serendipity and opportunities for designing digital tools that support innovation, creativity, and resource discovery. Finally, it presents current research findings on how serendipity impacts the work of scholars.

Anabel Quan-Haase is Associate Professor of Information and Media Studies and Sociology at the University of Western Ontario. Dr. Quan-Haase received her Masters degree in Psychology from the Humboldt-University in Berlin in 1998 under the supervision of Dr. Herbert Hagendorf and her Ph.D. in Information Studies from theUniversity of Toronto in 2004 under the supervision of Drs. Lynne Howarth and Barry Wellman.

The primary interests lies in the areas of Internet and society and computer-mediated communication. Her Ph.D. thesis examined how information flows in high-tech organizations employing a social network analysis approach. She also compared employees’ face-to-face, email, and instant messaging networks. She was also involved in a large-scale survey investigating the effect of the Internet on people’s social relations, sense of community, and political involvement. This talk is sponsored by the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies (SLAIS) as part of its SLAIS Colloquium lecture series.