Category Archives: information overload

Information overload and filter failure

What does it take to be a successful information professional, when so much information is available to us, our organisations and to our customers?  In March 2011, we published an article by Steve Dale.  In Surviving and thriving as a 21st century knowledge and information professional, Steve outlined how information professionals could use readily available tools to help manage information flows and become more effective.
I was reminded of his excellent, practical advice when I came across this blog post today.  Writing for the Gartner blog network, Craig Roth discusses whether there is an additional factor to add into Clay Shirkey’s famous statement that ‘there is no information overload, just filter failure’.
Roth suggests that we should consider not just the information bombarding us and demanding attention, but the information that is ‘hidden’ from us and could be of real value.  It’s a really interesting blog post – well worth a read.

In September this year, we will be publishing an article by Scott Brown.  In ‘Coping with information obesity:  A diet for information professionals’ Scott comes up with some practical solutions for information professionals, including the concept of ‘slow information’. 
If we are to be successful in our chosen careers we need to be able to demonstrate that we can locate, manage, filter, organise and share information appropriately and effectively.  If we can’t do it for ourselves, then why should our customers trust us?!

Information abundance and deep thinking

Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: what the Internet is doing to our brains, worries that we can become addicted to receiving ‘pellets of information’. Quoted in the Daily Telegraph, he feels that the number of times we return to our inboxes in a working day (up to 30 times each hour for British office workers, according to recent research) is the triumph of hope over experience.

Information overload

In the e-world (and the physical world) information overload is a a challenge all but the incredibly well organised and technically literate can find difficult to overcome. Acknowledging that we don’t have to read everything we are sent helps. Refining the way we organise the stuff that we really will want to get back to is a great aid to productivity.

Alexandra Samuel’s Harvard Business Review blog entry alerted us to Evernote as an example of a tool designed to help people with their personal information management challenges. Tools that help us create a searchable list of items and people that we don’t want to forget and (more importantly for those of us with failing memories!) can help us remember the context in which we first met them) are an interesting development.