Serendipitous Discovery: 3 Important Ways to Expand Your Research

Anyone who has worked on a research project knows how valuable it is to find unexpected material related to your topic. There are numerous ways to do this.

  1. In the world of serendipitous discovery, citations— in particular, who cited a work and who is cited by another work— provide a defined track for expanding your research. Following this string of citations—the citation trail— can lead you to discover new books and articles you were not aware of, enriching your research and sometimes leading you in new directions.

  3. Browsing  the library bookshelf is a great way to find material that shares similar topics with the book you started with. The works that have been classified as close to your book in topic will likely sit next to it on the real or virtual shelf. In the electronic world, browsing through a virtual book shelf provides the same experience and will allow you to find works you might not have found with a search query.

  5. Progress in research is a community endeavor, and using community knowledge enables you to find interesting material for your topic that you yourself may not have known to look for. This is exactly what a recommender system provides. It looks at material that has been used together by the wider community and creates recommendations based on that information. This is a wider range than what you will find in a citation trail, but equally important for enriching your research.

At Ex Libris, serendipitous discovery is our passion. To see five ways you can use Ex Libris discovery services to enhance your serendipitous discovery, click here.

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