Information Overload

“The scholar of today is ever fearful lest he shall have missed the latest treatise on his little specialty, which yet, despite its limitations, has a literature of its own. The average man of intelligence is well-nigh helpless before the mass of books in even a minor library…. How, in the face of this flood, shall the young man of our day find his bearings; how shall he ride the flood a master; by virtue of what training shall he make it serve him, carry him to his goal, aid him in his life work? How shall he avoid being overwhelmed by numbers, misled by cheap newness, misguided by advertising, and lost in a wilderness…when he essays to work in a modern library or attempt the mastery of any important question?”

Sound familiar? In fact, this was written almost 100 years ago in 1912! it appeared in the July edition of the Sewanee Review by William Warner Bishop, then the superintendent of the reading room at the Library of Congress. Tweak a few of the words and this paragraph could apply to today – information is plentiful, perhaps overwhelmingly so, leaving a searcher with millions of Google hits and thousands of Amazon titles. How to find the right information, the best information for a topic?

Simple: Ask a Librarian!

 

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