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Is Information Hoarding A Form of Overload?

By on April 6, 2012No Comment

I just need a few more documents.

On March 27, The Wall Street Journal published a piece on digital hoarding in an attempt to extend the term from clothing, papers, books, and other objects to digital files and associated it with the problem of Information Overload.

I think it must have been a slow news day.

When I was writing Overload!, I gave more than just a little bit of thought to the potential problem of hoarding versus the more straightforward problem of Information Overload.

Having “too much information” coming at you or competing for your attention when you are doing searches is one thing.  Holding onto files – even thousands of them – when they are images and memories – doesn’t strike me as an issue as long as they are reasonably organized and they don’t become an obsession.

Most hoarding is harmless, be it digital or otherwise. And today, given the relatively low cost of digital storage, I see little reason why memories and other ephemeral items should not be preserved. In addition, the time spent going through thousands of files to see what should be preserved and what should be discarded could be time better spent elsewhere.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex and author of Overload! How Too Much Information Is Hazardous To Your Organization.

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