Dealing with Information Overload

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has title::Dealing with Information Overload
status: finished
Master: project within::Information Sciences
Student name: student name::S.J. Hasenpflug
Start start date:=2011/03/01
End end date:=2011/08/31
Supervisor: Lora Aroyo
Second reader: has second reader::Michiel Hildebrand
Company: has company::Logica
Thesis: has thesis::Media:Thesis.pdf
Poster: has poster::Media:Media:Posternaam.pdf

Signature supervisor



We live in the information age, information can be found anywhere, anyhow, anytime.

Search engines, digital television, social media, e-mail, instant messaging and of course traditional media, we have, basically, infinite information sources at our disposal (Sonia Bergamaschi, 2010).

Technological innovations have led to more rich and complex information. Information is in a greater amount available for everyone, with a greater variety of formats and is accessible through a greater variety of media and communication channels (Robinson, 2009) (Feather, 1998).

To illustrate the amount of information humans produce and use, in 2007 humans successfully sent 1.9 Zettabytes of information through broadcast technology such as televisions and GPS. This is equivalent to every person in the world reading 174 newspapers every day. Communication through two-way communication produced 65 Exabyte’s of information in 2007. This is equivalent to every person in the world communicating the content of six newspapers every day (Wu, 2011).

This variety of information, information channels and media can result in an information overload. Information overload is a result when the information available exceeds the ability of the user to process it (Gordon, 1990) and when information is being perceived as a hinder rather than a help (Courtney, 1999).

Middle managers spend more than a quarter of their time looking for information they require in order to execute their daily tasks. Finding the information is a problem but also the correctness and value of the information found. 60% of the managers believe that they miss information that might be valuable to their job (Amble, 2007). Providing more options or information will lead to poorer choices and degraded satisfaction where less options results in careful decision making and higher confidence in the choices made (Lepper, 2000) (Antti Oulasvirta, 2009).

Because the amount of information is growing rapidly ,we are creating in two days the amount of information that was produced since the dawn of man through the year 2003 (Siegler, 2010), traditional search engines and search methodologies are changing.

Customers of Logica are asking how to cope with the large amount of information, and what the future will be regarding online search. Logica wants to provide their customers with advise how to improve their information retrieval and want to react in an early stage to future developments in the field of search.

This master thesis will give answer to the question: “Can online search tools and online search methodologies be used efficiently by consultants for finding information on the Web?”