Ignorance May Be A Virtue In The Age of Information Overload

Information overload is a frustrating problem that is all too familiar to those of us engaged in research. No matter how many articles, reports, and books we manage to plough through, the stack seems only to grow higher. Like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Walt Disney’s Fantasia we wish for a magical com- mand to stop the bucket brigade of information before it drowns us. The problem of too much information and too little time to manage it is not a new phenome non. It is just much m

Eugene Garfield
Apr 16, 1989

Information overload is a frustrating problem that is all too familiar to those of us engaged in research. No matter how many articles, reports, and books we manage to plough through, the stack seems only to grow higher. Like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice in Walt Disney’s Fantasia we wish for a magical com- mand to stop the bucket brigade of information before it drowns us. The problem of too much information and too little time to manage it is not a new phenome non. It is just much more obvious and prevalent today than in the past. In fact, information overload is spreading to infect the general public, too.

A new book by Richard Wurman, Information Anxiety (Doubleday. 1989), capitalizes on the growing popular awareness of the problem. Its title refers to a condition that arises from an “ever-widening gap between what we understand and what we think we should understand.”...

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