I have been using the phrase 'discovery happens elsewhere' in recent presentations. I think it captures quite nicely an increasingly important part of how we think about our services.

No single website is the sole focus of a user's attention. Increasingly people discover websites, or encounter content from them, in a variety of places. These may be network level services (Google, ...), or personal services (my RSS aggregator or 'webtop'), or services which allow me to traverse from personal to network (Delicious, LibraryThing, ...).

This means thinking about services in different ways. About how we disclose stuff to other discovery environments; about where our metadata is; about URL structures, RSS feeds, and so on.

I have suggested before that it would be an interesting experiment to think about our services as if they had no user interface. Here maybe it would be interesting to think about services as if they could only be reached from some other place. It makes you think about the variety of other places that discovery happens.

Credits. 'Discovery happens elsewhere' is influenced by Steve Rubel's use of the phrase 'traffic happens elsewhere' in his discussion of what he calls the 'cut and paste' web.

Related entries:

Comments: 1

Sep 16, 2007
Jessica Lindholm

'Discovery happens elsewhere' is certainly valid in a closely related example. 'Elsewhere' is one of the factors that motivates students and researchers to parallel publishing (or registering data) in institutional repositories, not just the local enduser interface. Elsewhere for them includes feeds/alerts to reference management softwares, to administrative tools needed by the university, inclusion in e.g. Google Scholar, and possibly more.