Search the Internet for the phrase “information overload definition,” andGoogle will return some 7,310,000results (at the time of this writing).Bing gets 9,760,000 results for thesame query. How is it possible for usto process that much data, to select themost interesting information sources,to summarize and combine differentfacets highlighted in the results, andto answer the questions we set out toask? Information overload is present ineverything we do on the Internet.Despite the number of occurrences ofthe term on the Internet, peer-reviewedliterature offers only a few accuratedefinitions of information overload.Among them, we prefer the one thatdefines it as the situation that “occursfor an individual when the informationprocessing demands on time (InformationLoad, IL) to perform interactionsand internal calculations exceed thesupply or capacity of time available (Information Processing Capacity, IPC) for such processing.”1 In other words, when the information available exceeds the user’s ability to process it. This formaldefinition provides a measure that we can express algebraically as IL > IPC, offering a way for classifying and comparing the different situations in which the phenomenon occurs. But measuring IL and IPC is a complex task because they strictly depend on a set of factors involving both the individual and the information (such as the individual’s skill), as well as the motivations and goals behind the information request.Clay Shirky, who teaches at New York University,takes a different view, focusing on how we sift through the information that’s available to us. We’ve long had access to “more reading material than you could finish in a lifetime,” he says, and “there is no such thing as information overload, there’s only filter failure.”2 But howeverwe look at it, whether it’s too much productionor failure in filtering, it’s a general and common problem, and information overload management requires the study and adoption of special, user- and context-dependent solutions.Due to the amount of information available that comes with no guarantee of importance, trust, or accuracy, the Internet’s growth has inevitably amplified preexisting information overload issues. Newspapers, TV networks, and press agencies form an interesting example of overload producers: they collectively make available hundreds of thousands of partially overlapping news articles each day. This large quantity gives rise to information overload in a “spatial” dimension — news articles about the same subject are published in different newspapers— and in a “temporal” dimension — news articles about the same topic are published and updated many times in a short time period.The effects of information overload include difficulty in making decisions due to time spent searching and processing information,3 inabilityto select among multiple information sources providing information about the same topic,4 and psychological issues concerning excessive interruptions generated by too many informationsources.5 To put it colloquially, this excess of information stresses Internet users out.
Guest editors' introduction: Information overload / Bergamaschi, Sonia; Guerra, Francesco; Barry, Leiba. - In: IEEE INTERNET COMPUTING. - ISSN 1089-7801. - STAMPA. - 14(6)(2010), pp. 10-13.
|Data di pubblicazione:||2010|
|Titolo:||Guest editors' introduction: Information overload|
|Autore/i:||Bergamaschi, Sonia; Guerra, Francesco; Barry, Leiba|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/MIC.2010.140|
|Codice identificativo ISI:||WOS:000283945400003|
|Codice identificativo Scopus:||2-s2.0-78149258342|
|Citazione:||Guest editors' introduction: Information overload / Bergamaschi, Sonia; Guerra, Francesco; Barry, Leiba. - In: IEEE INTERNET COMPUTING. - ISSN 1089-7801. - STAMPA. - 14(6)(2010), pp. 10-13.|
|Tipologia||Articolo su rivista|
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