[ISEA2016] Paper: Ricardo Melo & Miguel Carvalhais – Convergence and Divergence: A Conceptual Model for Digital Serendipitous Systems

Abstract (short paper)

When we are completely free to choose what we want to read or watch, the question becomes: how do we know what we should be reading or watching. With the transition from curation to user-initiated methods of discovery of digital information, such as search, came the necessity for information discovery methods that enable us to encounter new and surprising information that broadens our horizons and enriches our understanding of the world. In other words, systems that promote serendipity. Interactive digital systems that answer this issue are currently being developed, many with the explicit purpose of introducing or engineering serendipity into our digital interactions. However, in our research on serendipitous systems, we discovered that interpretations of serendipity were varied and often contradictory. This led to a lack of definition of what a serendipitous system was exactly, necessitating constant qualification. As such, we propose a distinction of these serendipitous systems according not to their proposed goal – serendipity – but their methods: convergence or divergence. Through this classification we are able to identify both the systems’ ideological pretensions as well as what methods and mechanics they employ to do so.

Ricardo MeloMiguel Carvalhais, ID+, Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, PT

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