Serendipity, researchwise

Mary B. has this account of finding interesting material bound with another book from the library – and then discovering that all the stuff was available through Google Booksearch. Which raises the point – how to we make the serendipity often found in research (go into any library and look at the books next to the one you are looking for) in an electronic context?

Online newspapers (as well as domain squatters) face this challenge every day – not just serving what the customer wants, but also something they didn’t know they wanted, often sufficiently similar that it may be, if not a substitute, at least a diversion.

Perhaps Google should have a new subcategory on their result screen – an appropriately random link under the heading of "and now, for something completely different…"