The Modern Day Information Environment
Information seems to be everywhere in modern life and there exists more information today than at any other time in human history. Moreover, the amount of information is growing steadily from year to year. In fact, one study estimates that the amount of information produced in the world grows by a staggering 30% each year (Goldsborough 13).
In addition, information is getting more and more diverse. Whether it be a printed book or article, an online web site or video, or a social media post or tweet, information can be found in a wide variety of types and formats, adding to the complexity of the modern day information environment.
What does it all mean?
Given this incredible amount of information, one cannot help but feel somewhat overwhelmed. Yet, the amount of information available can also be seen as a unique and unprecedented opportunity.
When discussing some of his scientific breakthroughs in a letter to his friend, legendary scientist Isaac Newton wrote, "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." (Newton, Sir Isaac) In this statement, Newton meant that his own breakthroughs were only possible because he read about the breakthroughs of others and built on their research. Yet, imagine if Newton had been exposed to all the information available today. How much more could he have discovered? How much further could he have seen?
Similarly, imagine the possibilities if both individuals and society learned to harness and make use of the incredible amount of information and knowledge available to them. While we might not all have the mind of Isaac Newton, the ability to utilize this information can have a tremendous benefit on our lives, allowing us to make better decisions, discover more, and see farther. This ability to utilize information effectively is known as 'information literacy'. Click on the next button to learn more about this important concept.
Goldsborough, R. (2009). Battling Information Overload in the Information Age. Tech Directions, 68(9), 13.
Newton, Sir Isaac. (2011). In Chambers biographical dictionary. Retrieved from http://libproxy.gc.maricopa.edu/login?url=http://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/chambbd/newton_sir_isaac/1