In the process of looking up a word or topic on the web, I often find myself following links to related information. This is a recursive process, and can result in several hours of browsing through a seemingly random set of topics. I've taken similar random walks while reading a paper encyclopedia or even a dictionary.
As an example, I recently followed Isis (goddess) -> Aphrodite -> Venus -> Venus (planet) -> Mars -> terraforming Mars -> lunar colony -> space elevator -> etc.
Does anyone know of a word or phrase for this type of activity / learning process?
Edit: M. Bowles calls this learning process "serendipitous learning" in "Relearning to E-learn: Strategies for Electronic Learning and Knowledge".
Jim Gritton calls this "serendipity browsing" in Of serendipity, free association and aimless browsing: do they lead to serendipitous learning?