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The bright side of information: ways of mitigating information overload

Tibor Koltay (Eszterházy Károly University, Jászberény, Hungary)

Journal of Documentation

ISSN: 0022-0418

Article publication date: 10 July 2017




The complex phenomenon of information overload (IO) is one of the pathologies in our present information environment, thus symbolically it signalizes the existence of a dark side of information. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the approaches on mitigating IO. Hence, it is an attempt to display the bright side.


Based on a literature review, the sources of IO are briefly presented, not forgetting about the role of information technology and the influence of the data-intensive world. The main attention is given to the possible ways of mitigating IO.


It is underlined that there are both technological and social approaches towards easing the symptoms of IO. While reducing IO by increasing search task delegation is a far away goal, solutions emerge when information is properly designed and tools of information architecture are applied to enable findability. A wider range of coping strategies is available when we interact with information. The imperative of being critical against information by exercising critical thinking and critical reading yields results if different, discipline-dependent literacies, first of all information literacy and data literacy are acquired and put into operation, slow principles are followed and personal information management (PIM) tools are applied.


The paper intends to be an add-on to the recent discussions and the evolving body of knowledge about the relationship between IO and information architecture, various literacies and PIM.



Koltay, T. (2017), "The bright side of information: ways of mitigating information overload", Journal of Documentation, Vol. 73 No. 4, pp. 767-775.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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