Thursday, April 12, 2007


Wilfing (from "what was I looking for") is apparently surfing the web without any real purpose, being distracted by pop up adverts and the like.

Now, when the web was new, and online journals were still an optional extra, I had concerns that browsing - finding things you did not know you were looking for - would become too difficult and would die out. It would no longer be possible to go to a shelf of journals and just flick through pages of journals you wouldn't think to read. I do that still a little bit with printed journals that make their way across my desk. But of course, we don't take that many journals in print any more, so there are a lot of journals that I cannot see like that.

But perhaps wilfing is the online equivalent? I am not sure if wilfing would work with academic journals, because you can't really flick through pages of journals you did not know you were interested in. But perhaps if you use publisher sites like Blackwell Synergy or Science Direct, or news sites in your field, you can wilf, and start to go places you did not know you wanted to go.

Browsing was and is, of course, the point of this blog, so perhaps this blog can become a starting place for wilfing.

There is an article in the Guardian about wilfing, which refers to a survey by YouGov.

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