Phil 9.21.17

6:00 – 10:30, 1:00 – 6:00 ASRC MKT

  • I think there is a difference between exploring, a deliberate exposing to things unknown and serendipity, an accidental encounter with the unknown. In the first case, the mind is prepared for the situation. In the second, the mind needs to be receptive to the serendipity. I think that design may matter a lot here. A serendipitous result low on a list may not have the same impact as a point on a map or a line in a story.
  • Oxford English dictionary’’s definitions of:
    • serendipity: “the faculty of making happy and unexpected discoveries by accident”.  
    • explore:  An act of exploring an unfamiliar place; an exploration, an excursion. 
    • discoverTo disclose, reveal, etc., to others or (later) oneself; to find out. 
    • sagacity: Acuteness of mental discernment; aptitude for investigation or discovery; keenness and soundness of judgement in the estimation of persons and conditions, and in the adaptation of means to ends; penetration, shrewdness.
    • synchronicity: the phenomenon of events which coincide in time and appear meaningfully related but have no discoverable causal connection.
  • Skimming these
    • The bohemian bookshelf: supporting serendipitous book discoveries through information visualization
      • A ThudtU HinrichsS Carpendale
      • Serendipity, a trigger of exciting discoveries when we least expect it, is currently being discussed as an often neglected but still important factor in information seeking processes, research, and ideation. In this paper we explore serendipity as an information visualization goal. In particular, we introduce the Bohemian Bookshelf visualization that aims to support serendipitous exploration of digital book collections. The Bohemian Bookshelf consists of five interlinked visualizations, each representing a unique (over)view of the collection. It facilitates serendipitous discoveries by (1) offering multiple access points by providing visualizations of different perspectives on the book collection, (2) enticing curiosity through abstract, metaphorical, and visually distinct representations of the collection, (3) highlighting alternate adjacencies between books, (4) providing multiple pathways for exploring the data collection in a flexible way, (5) supporting immediate previews of books, and (6) enabling a playful approach to information exploration. Our design goals and their exploration through the Bohemian Bookshelf visualization opens up a discussion on how to promote serendipity through information visualization.
      • six design goals that we have derived for promoting serendipitous discoveries through information visualization.
      • Austin coined the term altamirage that describes serendipitous discoveries as a result of chance paired with individual traits of the exploring person [2, 29].
      • This is closely related to the notion of synchronicity where related ideas may manifest as simultaneous occurrences that seem acausal but still meaningful [29].
      • The prevalence of these ideas of chance, fortuity, and coincidence in the discussion around serendipity has led to a tendency to trivialize this complex concept by assuming that serendipity can be supported simply through the introduction of randomness.
      • The design of the Bohemian Bookshelf offers multiple pathways through the book collection by (1) providing multiple interactive overviews of the book collection that can guide the information seeker into different and interesting directions, (2) the presentation of adjacent data that can act as visual signposts providing alternatives for the viewer to move through the dataset by following up on related books, and (3) emphasizing cross visualization attributes by mutual highlighting as in coordinated views [3, 7]
      • multiple pathways through the book collection that can provide guidance in a serendipitous way. The visual overviews can provide one way of exploring books. For instance, visitors can systematically browse through all books of their favourite colour and, in this way, possibly encounter books that are of interest to them but that they did not think of to search for directly. Furthermore, emphasizing adjacent books can be considered as visual signposts. For instance, following up on highlighted books in the Book Pile is likely to rapidly guide people serendipitously to different topical areas of the book collection. As a third approach to multiple pathways, all visualizations of the Bohemian Bookshelf are interlinked with each other. Therefore, every selection of a book in one visualization can be considered a cross road to the other visualizations that highlight this selection as well in their particular context.
      • We deliberately designed the Bohemian Bookshelf to provide multiple overviews of the entire book collection to provide opportunities to discover unexpected trends and relations within the collection.
    • Discovery is never by chance: designing for (un)serendipity – finished. Good paper!
      • P AndréJ TeevanST Dumais
      • Serendipity has a long tradition in the history of science as having played a key role in many significant discoveries. Computer scientists, valuing the role of serendipity in discovery, have attempted to design systems that encourage serendipity. However, that research has focused primarily on only one aspect of serendipity: that of chance encounters. In reality, for serendipity to be valuable chance encounters must be synthesized into insight. In this paper we show, through a formal consideration of serendipity and analysis of how various systems have seized on attributes of interpreting serendipity, that there is a richer space for design to support serendipitous creativity, innovation and discovery than has been tapped to date. We discuss how ideas might be encoded to be shared or discovered by “association-hunting” agents. We propose considering not only the inventor‘s role in perceiving serendipity, but also how that inventor‘s perception may be enhanced to increase the opportunity for serendipity. We explore the role of environment and how we can better enable serendipitous discoveries to find a home more readily and immediately.
        • there is “no discovery of a thing you are looking for
        • However, most systems designed to induce or facilitate serendipity have focused on the first aspect, subtly encouraging chance encounters, while ignoring the second part, making use of those encounters in a productive way.
        • Especially, however, we want to offer approaches to get at
          the desired effect of serendipity: insight
        • For us, serendipity is:
          1. the finding of unexpected information (relevant to the goal or not) while engaged in any information activity,
          2. the making of an intellectual leap of understanding with that information to arrive at an insight
        • In our study, a number of participants remarked that they thought of themselves as ‘serendipitous’, and were surprised to find no instances of it in their search behaviour.
          • This is because exploring is not serendipity. See first point above
        • Click entropy, a direct measure of how varied the result clicks are for the query, was found to be significant. That is, a positive correlation between entropy and the number of potentially serendipitous results suggests that people may have clicked varied results not just because they could not find what they wanted, but because they considered more things interesting, or were more willing to go off at a tangent.
        • Arguably however, almost all visualization systems are designed to support such a goal: identifying interesting, but unknown, trends or patterns in data that would not have been visible otherwise.
        • Erdelez‘s [12] so-called ‘super-encounterers’, encountering unexpected information on a regular basis, even counting on it as an important element in information acquisition.
        • Instead of treating serendipity as arcane, mysterious and accidental, we embrace the ability of computers to help us perceive connections and opportunities in various pieces of information
        • presenting such information to users has the potential to increase the overall information the user must interact with. This can lead to two problems: distraction or overload, and the negative consequences of incorrect or problematic recommendations or assumptions
        • It is widely acknowledged that serendipitous discoveries are preceded by a period of preparation and incubation [7]. They are, in that respect, not as ‗serendipitous‘ as we might expect, being the product of mental preparation as well as of an open and questioning mind
        • The challenge from a design perspective may not necessarily be discovering domain literature opportunities, but defining mechanisms for presenting these suggestions in ways that are effective for the investigator. Further to creating a reading list is defining the space to deliver them opportunistically
        • This idea again supposes a form of common language model, a way to express interest or expertise in particular areas, and a way to search for results.
        • In this spectrum, we have also demonstrated that computer science has spent most of it’s design effort perhaps overly focused on trying to create insight (effect of serendipity), by recreating the cause (chance), rather than on, for instance, increasing the rate and accuracy of proposed candidates for serendipitous insight, or developing domain expertise
  • Ordered this, too: Information Visualization: Beyond the Horizon. Has quite a bit on maps that’s going to be needed in the implications for design section
  • What is a Diagram?
    • This paper responds to renewed interest in the centuries old question of what is a diagram. Existing status of our understanding of diagrams is seen as unsatisfactory and confusing. This paper responds to this by proposing a framework for understanding diagrams based on symbolic and spatial mapping. The framework deals with some complex problems any useful definition of diagrams has to deal with. These problems are the variety of diagrams, meaningful dynamics of diagramming, handling change in diagrams in a well formed way, and all of this in the context of semantically mixed diagrams. A brief description of the framework is given discussing how it addresses the problems.
  • Supporting serendipity: Using ambient intelligence to augment user exploration for data mining and web browsing.
    • Has some very Research-Browser-ish bits in it
    • an agent-based system to support internet browsing. It models the user‘s behaviour to look ahead at linked web pages and their word frequencies, using a Bayesian approach to determine relevance. It then colours links on the page depending on their relevance. In evaluation, the colouring was seen as successful, with people tending to follow the strongly advised links most of the time.
  • Retroactive answering of search queries
    • Major search engines currently use the history of a user’s actions (e.g., queries, clicks) to personalize search results. In this paper, we present a new personalized service, query-specific web recommendations (QSRs), that retroactively answers queries from a user’s history as new results arise. The QSR system addresses two important subproblems with applications beyond the system itself: (1) Automatic identification of queries in a user’s history that represent standing interests and unfulfilled needs. (2) Effective detection of interesting new results to these queries. We develop a variety of heuristics and algorithms to address these problems, and evaluate them through a study of Google history users. Our results strongly motivate the need for automatic detection of standing interests from a user’s history, and identifies the algorithms that are most useful in doing so. Our results also identify the algorithms, some which are counter-intuitive, that are most useful in identifying interesting new results for past queries, allowing us to achieve very high precision over our data set.

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