A modular approach to promote creativity and inspiration in search

Alice Thudt, Uta Hinrichs, Sheelagh Carpendale

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

6 Citations (Scopus)
1 Downloads (Pure)


Today, searching through collections of books or written texts is often performed using digital search engines. There, the efficient yet limiting query paradigm is still the most dominant entry point. Previous work has characterized search processes in various contexts and describes search as integral and closely related to creative endeavours. We revisit this work from a design perspective, proposing guidelines for versatile search interfaces that are based on a modular approach to search. Inspired by aspects of search in physical environments, our recommendations address learning, creativity, inspiration, and pleasure as important and positive factors of (book) search. Based on in-depth interviews with library patrons about search practises in physical and digital environments and drawing from previous work on search behaviour, we discuss search patterns as modular constructs consisting of micro-strategies. We illustrate how the structure of these patterns, much like creative processes, is highly flexible
and fluidly evolves based on learning and ideation during search, particularly in physical search environments. This modular approach to search provides a concrete yet flexible basis to design interfaces that facilitate versatile and creative approaches to search in digital environments.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2015 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Creativity and Cognition
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-3598-0
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2015
EventACM Creativity and Cognition 2015 - Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 22 Jun 201525 Jun 2015


ConferenceACM Creativity and Cognition 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Book Search
  • Creativity
  • Search Interface
  • Qualitative study


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