Seeking Serendipity: The Art of Finding the Unsought in Professional Music

Iwan Wopereis, Michiel Braam

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingAcademicpeer-review

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Serendipity is a valuable constituent of professional work. In order to ‘control’ the phenomenon it is important to gain insight in its processes and influencing factors. This study examined two cases of serendipitous information behavior in professional improvised music, a domain often associated with unpredictability. The aim of the study was to validate McCay-Peet and Toms’ latest model on work-related serendipitous experiences. The study followed a semi-structured interview procedure that consisted of three one-hour interview sessions to select cases and collect data. Results show that our data fit the model. Process elements like ‘trigger’, ‘connection’, ‘valuable outcome’, ‘unexpected thread’, and ‘perception of serendipity’ were identified, as well as factors such as ‘trigger-rich’, ‘openness’, and ‘prepared mind’. We also identified other factors (i.e., ‘curiosity’, ‘interest’, and ‘initiative’) that might influence serendipitous discovery. Additional (multi) case studies are necessary to generalize findings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInformation Literacy in the Workplace
Subtitle of host publication5th European Conference, ECIL, 2017, Saint Malo, France, September 18-21, 2017, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsSerap Kurbanoğlu, Joumana Boustany, Sonja Špiranec, Esther Grassian, Diane Mizrachi, Loriene Roy
Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-74334-9
ISBN (Print) 978-3-319-74333-2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventThe Fifth European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL) - Saint Malo, France
Duration: 18 Sep 201721 Sep 2017

Publication series

SeriesCommunications in Computer and Information Science


ConferenceThe Fifth European Conference on Information Literacy (ECIL)
CitySaint Malo
Internet address


  • information behavior
  • information seeking
  • serendipity
  • music

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