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The Serendipity Factor: Evaluating the Affordances of Digital Environments

SEADE (pronounced ‘seed’) Workshop at CHIIR 2016 (ACM SIGIR Conference on Human Information Interaction and Retrieval)

Please download a copy of the program here:  SEADE-Program

March 17, 2016, 9:00am-5:00pm, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States



For two decades, research has sought to understand serendipity and how it may be facilitated in digital environments such as information visualization systems, search systems, and social media. The motivation for investigating serendipity comes from its association with positive outcomes that range from personal benefits to global rewards. To date, research has made significant headway in defining and mapping the process of serendipity and new tools are emerging to support it. But we lack robust methods of evaluating new or enhanced features, functions, and tools.


The goal of the Workshop is to examine how we balance the tension between diversity and novelty in designing digital environments and subsequently how we evaluate the ‘serendipitousness’ of those environments. We invite participants from a range of disciplines (e.g., information science, HCI, digital humanities, cognitive science) and research perspectives to help us solve this wicked problem.

**UPDATE** Keynote 

“Is There Anything Serendipity Research Can Learn from Creativity Research?”

John Gero, University of North Carolina at Charlotte and Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, George Mason University

John Gero is the author or editor of over 50 books and more than 650 papers and book chapters in the fields of design science, design cognition, design computing, artificial intelligence, computer-aided design and cognitive science. He has been a Visiting Professor of Architecture, Civil Engineering, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Design and Computation or Mechanical Engineering at MIT, UC-Berkeley, UCLA, Columbia and CMU in the USA, at Strathclyde and Loughborough in the UK, at INSA-Lyon and Provence in France and at EPFL in Switzerland.

How to participate

Submit a 2-page paper using the ACM SIG Proceedings Template about your ongoing work, recent results, or study methods related to serendipity, either published, or work in progress. Possible themes for these papers may include, but are not limited to:

Evaluating whether or how digital environments enables erendipity

  1. Use of qualitative methods such as interviews and think-aloud to evaluate user perceptions
  2. Modifications to quantitative evaluation methods such as controlled experiments and log file analyses to test designs
  3. Identification of factors other than the environment (e.g., context, individual differences, strategies, emotions, attitudes) that influence serendipity that should be taken into consideration during evaluation

Designing elements and functions in digital environments so that serendipity is facilitated

  1. Application of theory and models in the design (or evaluation) of affordances related to serendipity
  2. Design of serendipitous digital environments (e.g., information visualization systems, recommender systems, digital libraries, search engines)

Authors of selected papers will be asked to

  1. A) give “lightning talks” on their work through a 5-minute presentation; or
  2. B) participate in a “show and tell event” to demonstrate their project or prototype.

In addition, just prior to and during the workshop we will be conducting a whirlwind Delphi study to identify essential and novel measures for assessing “serendipitousness.” The results of the group effort will be discussed at the Workshop to highlight pertinent measures.

At least one author of each accepted paper must attend the workshop and all participants much register for the workshop.

**Submissions and inquiries can be sent to Lori McCay-Peet []**

Workshop website

Important dates

  • Submission Deadline: December 1, 2015 January 8, 2016
    Notification: December 15, 2015 January 22, 2016
  • Workshop date:  March 17, 2016

Conference Organizers

Lori McCay-Peet, Dalhousie University, Canada

Elaine G. Toms, The University of Sheffield, UK

Anabel Quan-Haase, The University of Western Ontario, Canada

Program Committee Members

Naresh Argawal, Simmons College, USA

Jamshid Beheshti, McGill University, Canada

Lennart Björneborn, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Sanda Erdelez, University of Missouri, USA

Jannica Heinström, Åbo Akademi University, Finland

Christoph Lutz, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland

Stephann Makri, City University London, UK

Kim Martin, University of Western Ontario, Canada

Xu Sun, The University of Nottingham Ningbo China

Simon Wakeling, University of Sheffield, UK

One thought on “CFP: SEADE

    […] Sabrina Sauer presented research insights into how media professionals use audiovisual archives to create audiovisual narratives during the CHIIR 2016 (Chapel Hill, North-Carolina, 13-17 March) workshop “The Serendipity Factor: Evaluation the Affordances of Digital Environments”. The goal of the workshop was to bring together ideas and methods used to understand and facilitate serendipitous search within digital environments. For media professionals, part of creative storytelling depends on serendipitous findings within archives. For more information about the workshop and this topic, please view the workshop’s website […]

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