Is There Such a Thing As Information Overload?

Abstract: Using Wikipedia, Abram defines “information overload” and notes the causes and impact on enterprise of the problem of having too much information in this knowledge economy. He then lists the skills and strategies of librarians that would add value in this area:

  • searching and finding;
  • going beyond the free web;
  • determining authority;
  • separating fact and opinion;
  • understanding optimized search results;
  • filtering and adding value;
  • de-duplication;
  • cost effective enterprises and efficiency;
  • credulity; and
  • content and tool awareness.


Abram gives an excellent list of the skills that modern information professionals should possess. But I’d argue that, in addition to better marketing our professional selves by highlighting these rather unique skills, we should also be advocating their inclusion in basic public school curricula.  Because, in our knowledge economy, access is not just about being able to search the internet or for-fee databases, it’s also about being able to use them effectively. With so many people growing up in this new economy, it has become vital to possess these skills at a much younger age.

Abram, Stephen. (2008). Is There Such a Thing As Information Overload? Information Outlook, 12(2), 25-26. Retrieved September 2, 2008, from Academic Search Complete database.