The literature on browsing develops a portrait of a complex, open-ended, embodied human experience, rather than the input-output exchange that characterises traditional information retrieval.
Browsing is an iterative process that entails scanning or glimpsing a field of potential resources, and selecting or sampling items for further investigation and evaluation.
Browsing entails movement through a field of resources; Kwasnik stipulates "movement in a connected space". This movement depends in turn on orientation: a knowledge of the "structure and content" of the browsing field
We may browse with or without a goal in mind, and goals may change as the process unfolds.
(source: "The design of browsing and berrypicking techniques for the online search interface")