The Mythology of Information Overload

Resource Author:  Tonyia Tidline
Resource Date:  2/1/1999
Resource Name:  Library Trends
URL:   Link to Source Article or Site

Library and Information Science work has often focused on the study of solutions to the effects of information overload. For this reason, and because the concept is frequently identified as a problem in popular culture, it is logical to assume that the existence and description of information overload has been documented through rigorous investigation. Such is not the case. This article looks at the functions of myth and brings together ideas about the information society, information, and information overload to conclude that information overload is a myth of modern culture.

In this sense, myth is a nonscientific process that confirms the reality of an elusive phenomenon. The article also reports results of a pilot project intended to describe information overload experienced by a particular folk group composed of future library and information professionals. In addition to trying to enhance the description of information overload, the pilot project represents an attempt to test the idea of the folk group as a remedy for this condition.