overcoming information overload

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Overcoming Information Overload. Anne Pemberton pembertona@uncw.edu. "A weekday edition of The New York Times contains more information than the average person was likely to come across in a lifetime in 17th century England." R.S.Wurman, Information Anxiety. Information Overload …. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


  • Overcoming Information OverloadAnne Pemberton pembertona@uncw.edu

  • "A weekday edition of The New York Times contains more information than the average person was likely to come across in a lifetime in 17th century England." R.S.Wurman, Information Anxiety

  • Information Overload Having so much information available that you either cannot assimilate it all or it feels too overwhelming to take any of it in

  • Information OverloadOverwhelmed by the amount of information Dont understand the available information Desperate to know if certain information exists Dont know where to find information Unable to access information

  • Research on IOOnce workers are interrupted by an email it takes an average of 24 minutes to return to the suspended task

    2,300 employees judged nearly one third of the emails they receive to be unnecessary, but spend two hours a day processing them


  • Info Overload Results In Anxiety / Stress

    Delay in Decision Making

    Lack of Job Satisfaction

    Waste of Time

    Working Longer Hours

  • My Information OverloadE-mails (urgency/time of sender)MailVoice mailsMeetingsNewspaper/NewsResearch for othersResearch for meWebsites

  • Solutions


    Individual Related to research

  • AcceptanceThomas Young (1773 1829) English scientist, researcher, physician, and polymath

    Last person to know it all

  • Organizational SuggestionsDiscuss best practices for your department:What method will you use for communication?E-mail?Short messages: EOM (End of Message)Encourage brief messages (no more than 5 sentences)Use specific subject lines (not FYI or tomorrow)Resist replying to allAvoid personal e-mails to colleagues on work e-mailSharePoint? Blogs/wikis?File SharingEstablish best practices for file naming (mins.docx vs. Curriculum Committee Minutes 10-12-09.docx)

  • Organizational ContinuedListservs:No need to maintain contact lists individuallyPractice good etiquette (keep the personal out of professional)Set limits for yourself and respect other peoples limitsYou cannot be available 24/7Dont expect others to be eitherDo not have meetings without agendas, moderators, or a minute taker

  • Individual SuggestionsOrganize your work spaceEverything has a homeFile cabinet with foldersBook case for booksYou use it, you put it backSet up time each week (15 minutes on Fridays) to weed, recycle, organize, clean, etc.You do NOT need to print everythingYou do NOT need to keep everythingYou do NOT need to read everything

  • Keeping InformationAsk these questions: Can I get this info elsewhere if I do need it?Is this something I really need? How will it help me?Now that I've read it and understand it, do I need to keep it?If I do keep it, where can I put it so that it is easily accessible and I dont have to hunt for it?

  • E-mailHow many accounts do you need?One personal and one professional (?)Do not leave inbox open all dayDetermine specific times that you will check e-mailE-mail signature that reads I answer e-mail at 10 a.m., 1 p.m., and 4 p.m. If you need a quicker response, please call.Act on message when you get it (Respond, delete, file)

  • E-mail ContinuedIf you have to keep messages, create foldersUseful namesOnce a week or month weed (put this on your calendar)Dont save everything be realisticModify junk folders in your e-mailhttp://www.uncw.edu/itsd/services/communication/SPAM.htmlGood gauge mailbox sizehttp://www.uncw.edu/itsd/help/instructions/ManageYourEmail.htmlStore large files on SAMMY/TIMMY - not in your e-mailhttp://www.uncw.edu/itsd/help/instructions/Sammy.html

  • Phone CallsDo not answer phone calls from unrecognized numbers (unless it is your job to answer the phone)Do not answer phone if you are concentrating on something (they can leave a VM)Tools:http://www.grandcentral.com/http://www.simulscribe.com/http://jott.com/default.aspx

  • TechnologyIs your Crackberry" stressing you out?Take a day off!Leave the technology at work (dont check e-mail at home)What are you REALLY missing?

  • Taming the Web: RSSRDF Site Summary / Rich Site Summary / Really Simple Syndication RSS is a standard XML format for delivering content that changes on a regular basis Content is delivered in small chunks, generally a synopsis, preview, or headline

  • RSSUsing a special program called a "feed reader" or "RSS aggregator", you can easily track any type of information that changes on a daily or even hourly basis from multiple sites Lets you know when your favorite websites have been updated Through your e-mailThrough the webThrough aggregators like Bloglines

  • Using RSSLook for small, orange icons (RSS or XML)

    Most common: Use a reader (like bloglines.com or Google Reader)

    Can also use in your e-mail

  • Other Toolshttp://www.nextfeeds.com/ http://www.feeddemon.com/ http://readitlaterlist.com/ http://www.rememberthemilk.com/

    Firefox bookmark add-ons

  • Blogs & WikisLet someone else do the work! Great for sharing information Blogs Example: http://keptup.typepad.com/academic/ Search for blogs: http://blogsearch.google.com/ Wikis Example: http://www.libsuccess.org/index.php?title=Main_Page

    Search for wikis: http://www.google.com/Top/Computers/Software/Groupware/Wiki/

  • ResearchI happen to know some folks who can help

  • Research: Alerting ServicesLets you know (alerts you) about new materials Books and articles Most databases TOC (Table of Contents) Service through IngentaConnect

  • Alerting Services"New book" alerts (will e-mail you when new books arrive)Go to library website (http://library.uncw.edu)Click on My Library AccountClick on Library Home at top, rightClick on Search the CatalogPerform a searchClick on gray box (Save as preferred search)Click on the Patron Record button at the top (blue box)Click on the Preferred Searches button on right (blue box)Click the box next to your search terms in the column labeled Mark for EmailClick on Update List (blue box)

  • Other ToolsBibliographic Management ToolsEndNote or EndNote WebZotero

    Keeping Your Citations OrganizedLibrary Toolbarhttp://library.uncw.edu/web/research/tools.html

  • Personal LifeGet rid of junk mail (save you and save a tree!)http://www.stopjunkmail.org/Can you keep work separate from personal?Disconnect from technologySocial Networking:Cant keep up on Facebook?Create lists (e.g. Important People)Do you really need 500 friends? Really?http://www.digsby.com/ (brings all your contacts together in one place)

  • More Resources on IODeath by Information Overload (article by Paul Hemp in Harvard Business Review, September 2009)


    Anne Pemberton, Instructional Services Coordinator, RL pembertona@uncw.edu