Dealing With Technostress/Information Overload in Libraryland and Beyond…08.29.08

29 08 2008

Today’s LibGib’s relevant post by Tawney Sverdlin for all librarians and many other busy workers is titled “Mediate in the Library” [ http://www.libgig.com/meditate ] and deals with librarian “technostress” and “information overload”

“…By the very nature of our profession, librarians must harness the chaos of information and transform it into manageable, tangible data. Whether it is through a conversation at the reference desk or through the wilderness of metadata, it is part of our job description.

Ameet Doshi writes ‘The fact that librarians, perhaps by nature, constantly seek to create order out of chaos can also lead to feeling of being overwhelmed by a geyser of information that is simply too difficult to keep up with. Sometimes this can lead to frustration and, ultimately, anger.’ The key is maintaining internal focus while multitasking…”

“…Cultivating mindfulness with constant interruptions is the really hard part. It is easy to look at my entire workday as one long series of interruptions as I am constantly pulled from my wandering interior monologue to a student’s question about our catalog. Even if I am not actively waiting for a student to ask me questions I am still splintered between various tasks or distractions online. One friend of mine recently described Facebook as ‘the monkey mind of websites’.

Speaking of Facebook, I am brought to my second point. This is the degree to which technology offers even more distraction than in previous eras and thus more stress. Constantly checking the internet for constant updates is one symptom of how addictive technology can be. Each click of the refresh button brings with it a false sense of security that we are perfectly in control of our lives (false!).

Modern life in general can generate many feelings of isolation in general. We all work long hours away from our loved ones. I often doubt whether or not social networking actually fosters real connection between people or whether or not it just subtracts the amount of focus one has invested in any given interaction. Don’t get me wrong, there are a myriad of ways that these applications are beneficial, especially in the arena of publishing, but social interactions online are certainly less taxing than face-to-face ones…”

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One response

19 01 2010
Richard Bernier

I enjoyed reading this blog post, especially the part about constant interruptions. I see it as two types of interruptions, those imposed on us by others and those we impose on ourselves when under our own will we break off to check email, facebook, news sites, or should I say other tasks directly library related. You are right, we “must harness the chaos of information and transform it into manageable, tangible data.”
I am writing a multi-piece series in my blog about the many challanges that librarians at small colleges must face and multitasking-task switching is a major theme. Feel free to check it out and follow it.
Have a good one,
Rich Bernier –
Part 1 Introduction – http://thisthatotherthing.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/the-small-college-librarian-%E2%80%93-part-1-%E2%80%93-introduction/

Part 2 – So Many Jobs, So Little Time – http://thisthatotherthing.wordpress.com/2010/01/19/part-2/

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