An interesting talk by Steve Fuller on information overload. He starts with the academic context in which much of what’s published is not read, much of what’s read is not cited and yet academics are pressured to continually publish more. For whom is this a pathological condition? He argues that the implicit standpoint here is that of a decision maker i.e. this situation is pathological because it precludes the deployment of academic knowledge in informed decision making. Obesity metaphors obtain here, argues Fuller, because it’s a matter of having more information than you know what to do with, as opposed to more energy than you’re able to expand through activity.
The point he ends on is a really important one: is the concern for managing information actually one of managing free expression? Is the unstated problem one of there being too many authors? I assume he’s talking about this in relation solely to natural science, but I’m sure this can be generalised.