Browsing

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This item is about creative browsing in a library context. However see "Using Experts" for a very different approach to information acquisition.

Types of browsing

The creative use of literature very often amounts to browsing. Although the importance of browsing is generally recognised, its nature appears to be little understood. At least three kinds of browsing have been recognised:

  • Purposive browsing: Where you are deliberately seeking a defined piece of information.
  • Capricious browsing: where you are randomly examining material without a definite goal.
  • Exploratory browsing: Where you are consciously looking for inspiration.

Factors that may support creative browsing

I know little of the 'official' success rate of this sort of information seeking. However, my personal experience is that for optimal stimulation of creative ideas:

  • Choose a variety of presentation styles.
  • Choose a selection of material over wide subject areas.
  • Do it yourself - you are not going to get the creative stimulus by asking someone else to look for you. You can always use someone else to refine the ideas once you have them.
  • Make yourself comfortable - That way the sub-conscious mind can happily get on with solving those problems and trigging of the information you are getting.