Information overload : a concept analysis

Belabbes, Mohamed Amine and Ruthven, Ian and Moshfeghi, Yashar and Pennington, Diane (2022) Information overload : a concept analysis. Journal of Documentation. ISSN 0022-0418 (In Press)

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Abstract

Purpose: With the shift to an information-based society and to the decentralisation of information, information overload has attracted a growing interest in the computer and information science research communities. However, there is no clear understanding of the meaning of the term, and while there have been many proposed definitions, there is no consensus. The goal of this work was to define the concept of ’information overload.’ In order to do so, we performed a concept analysis using Rodgers’ approach. Methodology: We conducted a concept analysis using Rodgers’ approach based on a corpus of documents published between 2010 and September 2020. We identified one surrogate for ‘information overload’, which is ‘cognitive overload’. Our corpus of documents consisted of 151 documents for information overload and 10 for cognitive overload. All documents were from the fields of computer science and Information Science, and were retrieved from three databases: ACM Digital Library, SCOPUS, and LISA. Findings: The themes identified from our concept analysis allowed us to extract the triggers, manifestations and consequences of information overload. We found triggers related to information characteristics, information need, the working environment, the cognitive abilities of individuals and the information environment. In terms of manifestations, we found that information overload manifests itself both emotionally and cognitively. The consequences of information overload were both internal and external. These findings allowed us to provide a definition of information overload. Originality: Through our concept analysis, we were able to clarify the components of information overload and provide a definition of the concept.

ORCID iDs

Belabbes, Mohamed Amine ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0487-105X, Ruthven, Ian ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6669-5376, Moshfeghi, Yashar and Pennington, Diane ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1275-7054;