Searching the Unsearchable: Inducing Serendipitous Insights



Although no serious efforts seem to have been devoted yet to the theoretical and experimental study of the phenomenon, the web is recognizably a well suited medium for information encountering, the accidental discovery of information that is not sought for. This is the very essence of serendipity, the faculty of making fortunate and unexpected discoveries by accident. This paper presents Max, a software agent that uses simple information retrieval techniques and heuristic search to wander on the Internet and uncover useful, and not sought for, information that may stimulate serendipitous insights.


Serendipity, creative insights, information retrieval, chance discovery.


Computer Aided Serendipity

Cited by

Year 2014 : 2 citations

 Stephann Makri, Ann Blandford, Mel Woods, Sarah Sharples, Deborah Maxwell (2014). “Making my own luck”: Serendipity strategies and how to support them in digital information. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology. 04/2014

 Foster, A. E., and Elis, D. (2014), Serendipity and its Study, Journal of Documentation, 70(6), pp. 1015 - 1038.

Year 2010 : 2 citations

 Alfano, M. & Lenzitti, B. (2010). U-search: a meta engine for creation of knowledge paths on the web. CompSysTech’ 10, Porc. 11th International ACM Conference o n Computer Systems and Technologies. Sofia, Bulgaria.

 Chen, Yaxi (2010): Exploratory Browsing: Enhancing the Browsing Experience with Media Collections. Dissertation, LMU München: Faculty of Mathematics, Computer Science and Statistics

Year 2009 : 1 citations

 André, P., Schraefel, M. C., Teevan, J., & Dumais, S. T. (2009). Discovery Is Never By Chance: Designing for (Un)Serendipity. Proc. Creativity & Cognition 2009, ACM.

Year 2007 : 2 citations (2007) Bibliographie sur la sérendipité,
(current Dec 22, 2007).

 Pereira, F. C. (2007). Creativity and Artificial Intelligence: A Conceptual Blending Approach (1st ed.). Walter de Gruyter, pp. 39.

Year 2006 : 1 citations

 Watson, Q. (2006). Encounters and Directions of Research. Qualitative Inquiry. 12(5), 865-885.

Year 2005 : 1 citations

 Cosijn, E., & Bothma, T. (2005). Contexts of Relevance for Information Retrieval System Design. Lecture Notes in Computer Science: Context and Relevance in Information Seeking. Berlin: Springer.

Year 2004 : 2 citations

 Erdelez, S. (2004) Investigation of information encountering in the controlled research environment, Information Processing and Management: an International Journal, 40 (6), pp.1013-1025, Pergamon Press.

 Pereira, F.C. (2004) Um Modelo Computacional de Criatividade, Ph.D. Thesis, University of Coimbra.

Year 2003 : 2 citations

 Kretzenbacher, H. L. (2003) "The Aesthetics and Heuristics of Analogy " Model and Metaphor in Chemical Communication", HYLE--International Journal for Philosophy of Chemistry, Vol. 9, No.2, pp. 191-218.

 Benjaminsson, S. (2003) "Vägar till information på webbplatser En utvärdering av sökstödet på (Paths to information on web sites " an Evaluation of the search support on, Ph. D. Thesis, Magisteruppsats I Biblioteks " Och Informationsvetenskap.

Year 2002 : 1 citations

 K. Satya Sai Prakash and S.V.Raghavan, "DIAPANGSE: Distributed Intelligent Agent based Parallel Architecture for Next Generation Search Engines", 5th International Conference on Information Technology, December 21 - 24, 2002, Bhubaneswar.