Information Management

	    "...[I]t is a far more difficult task to 
	     identify the key or the most essential works
	     for the problem at hand [then] to ... find 
	     great numbers of publications dealing with
	     a research topic ..." (Hopkins, 1995: 306).
Information overload is not unique to Internet users. It is a condition that has plagued the Information Society for more than a generation (e.g. Klapp, 1986) and has led, at least according to some authorities, to feelings of frustration, disconnectiveness, boredom and anxiety (e.g. Wurman, 1989).
Over the years, to assist users in managing the ever-increasing volume of information, librarians, and others, have developed or applied a variety of selection and organizational tools and techniques. In a recent review article, Hopkins provides a concise summary of the issue and succinct profiles of a number of the methods that librarians and other information specialists have used in countering this problem (Hopkins, 1995: 305-333). Among the conventional tools that librarians have created to assist users manage information overload have been guides, handbooks, review articles, literature reviews, abridgments and rankings, as well as indexes, digests and abstracts, among other similar services.
While he does not specifically address the phenomenon of information overload in cyberspace, his review of the potential benefit of hypermedia for reducing the condition, reaffirms the approach taken by CyberStacks(sm):
	   "The route to information ecstasy will involve
	   the use of interactive media or hypermedia. 
	   Librarians, and other information professionals,
	   utilizing these technologies, will be able to 
	   make intellectual links that exist within
	   and between documents readily apparant and 
	   easily accessible to users [emphasis added]
	   (Hopkins, 1995: 325) 
We believe that the use of a standard organizational scheme, which makes use of the hypertext functionality of the World Wide Web itself and that of the GUI browsers in which it is searched, and which also provides users with a framework which faciliates the predictable location of resources within an overall system, can substantially lessen the cognitive load and psychological burden often associated with information overload and anxiety.
We believe that our intentional selection of sources of a Reference nature that serve to index, abstract, guide or review significant and relevant Internet resources, will mitigate some of the frustrating and distressing experiences of Internet users who seek specific data and information.
Cited References
Richard L. Hopkins, "Countering information overload: the role of the librarian," Reference Librarian 49/50: 305-333 (1995).
Orrin E. Klapp, Overload and boredom: essays on the quality of life in the Information Society. (Wesport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1986).
Richard Saul Wurman, Information anxiety. (New York: Doubleday, 1989)
Go To Internet Search Engines Screen
CyberStacks(sm)
>