Information overload

Very interesting article from Om Malik on information overload and the fact that search ‘needs to change’.  Increasingly, I’m using my Twitter feed, del.icio.us and selected RSS feeds to access information, rather than relying on search, merely because the process of searching is now so time-consuming and hit-and-miss.  Om says:

The problem is that there’s too much data coming online too quickly,
and the traditional method of search that involves first finding and
then consuming the information is not going to work for much longer.
There just won’t be enough time for us to do that and still have a
life. It’s a problem, and therefore solving it is an opportunity–a very
big opportunity.

What we’re doing at Xenial is trying to make better recommendation systems and providing more specialist-interest-driven, but high quality information services.  Personally I see this as the business of the future: understanding a business/individual’s information needs is becoming a key transferable skill in the marketplace.  Unfortunately for discipline oriented research and education, this means developing a much more rounded and perhaps eclectic professional portfolio, and requires much more self-education than ever before. 

But as Malik says, this isn’t really a problem, but rather an opportunity.  Getting out there and finding out about ideas and practices isn’t really a new idea, it’s just necessary now.  And while Malik calls it ‘serendipity’ it’s really about strategic thinking and information filtering.  And that requires a level of understanding across stakeholders as well as ideas. 

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