Influences of Serendipity on Consumer Medical Information Personalization Public Deposited

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  • March 19, 2019
  • Fan, Xiangyu
    • Affiliation: School of Information and Library Science
  • Serendipity is an important concept in the field of information science. It has a potential of enhancing information seeking process by unexpected discovery. Serendipitous recommendation has been incorporated into the design of personalized systems to minimize blind spots in information delivery. Little evidence has been found to identify how serendipity influences personalization of consumer medical information delivery. This dissertation attempts to examine what roles serendipity plays in filtering consumer medical information and to understand how to incorporate serendipity in an effective manner. In addition, the study seeks to clarify user attitudes on unexpected discoveries of medical content in filtering settings as well as users' interest changes during this process. To empirically analyze the influence of serendipity, a medical news filtering system named MedSDFilter was developed. The system can personalize the delivery of news articles based on users' interest profiles. In MedSDFilter, serendipitous recommendation was integrated into personalized filtering through one of three serendipity models (randomness-based, knowledge-based and learning-based). Using Medical News Today site as information source, three different system modalities were compared by conducting user experiments. Thirty staff members were recruited to read and rate medical news delivered by one of three system modalities. The results of user study indicate that serendipity has an important role in medical news content delivery. As for how to incorporate serendipity, it is shown that using physician knowledge effectively enhanced serendipitous recommendation. In addition, the results suggest that the performance of serendipitous recommendation was further improved after learning algorithms were adopted. This study also provide some evidence to show user satisfaction on unexpected discovery and user interest change associated with this type of discovery. Finally, the study demonstrated the individual difference in seeking consumer medical information. The results of this study provide the system designers implications and suggestions to avoid potential drawbacks related to over-personalization in information delivery. This study enhances the understanding of users' behavior regarding the consumption of medical information and generates new guidelines which can be used in developing information systems in medical area.
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Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Capra, Robert
  • Quiroga, Luz
  • Mostafa, Javed
  • Hemminger, Bradley M.
  • Greenberg, Jane
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2015
Place of publication
  • Chapel Hill, NC
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