Information Overload and Underload

  • Bryan Alexander Publishing Consultant and Futurist
  • Kim Barrett Dean of the Graduate Division, University of California San Diego (UCSD)
  • Sioux Cumming Program Manager, Online Journals, International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP)
  • Patrick Herron Senior Research Scientist, Information Science + Studies, Duke University
  • Claudia Holland Head, Copyright and Scholarly Communications, George Mason University
  • Kathleen Keane Director, Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Joyce Ogburn Dean of Libraries, Appalachian State University
  • Jake Orlowitz Head of The Wikipedia Library, Wikipedia
  • Mary Augusta Thomas Assistant Director, Smithsonian Institution Libraries
  • Jeff Tsao Distinguished Member of Technical Staff, Sandia National Laboratories

Abstract

Information underload occurs when we don’t have access to the information we need (for a variety of reasons, including cost) —researchers based at smaller institutions and in the global periphery, policymakers, and the general public, particularly with regard to medical research. Overload occurs when we can access everything but are simply overwhelmed by the torrent of information available (not all of which is equally valuable). Are these issues two sides of the same coin? In both cases, how can we work together to figure out how to get people the information they need? Can we? How widespread are these issues? What are the economic and research consequences of information underload and overload?
Published
2016-04-22
Issue
Section
Questions