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Information Overload Statistics

"Technology reduces the amount of time it takes to do any one task but also leads to the expansion of tasks that people are expected to do."
--Juliet Schor

The daily New York Times now contains more information that the 17th century man or woman would have encountered in a lifetime.  (Wurman, S.A. (1987)  Information Anxiety.  New York:  Doubleday, 32.)

"As we go from grade school to high school we learn only a billionth of what there is to learn.  There is enough scientific information written every day to fill seven complete sets of Encyclopedia Britannica; there is enough scientific information written every year to keep a person busy reading day and night for 460 years!"  (Siegel, B.L. (1984, April 15).  Knowledge with commitment:  Teaching is the central task of the university. Vital Speeches of the Day, 50, 394.)

"In the last 30 years mankind has produced more information than in the previous 5,000."  (Information Overload Causes Stress. (1997, March/April).  Reuters Magazine. Available:  Lexis Nexis Universe [4/28/98].)

Gordon Moore, co-founder of Intel, coined Moore's Law which states that the processing power of computer chips doubles about every 18 months.

"About 1,000 books are published internationally every day, and the total of all printed knowledge doubles every five years. (Information Overload Causes Stress. (1997, March/April). Reuters Magazine. Available:  Lexis Nexis Universe [4/28/98].)

"The average Fortune 1000 worker already is sending and receiving approximately 178 messages and documents each day, according to a recent study, "Managing Corporate Communications in the Information Age."  (Boles, M. (1997)  Help! Information overload. Workforce, 76, 20.)

"Dr Dharma Singh Khalsa, in his book Brain Longevity,...says the average American sees 16,000 advertisements, logos, and labels in a day."  (Gore, A. (1998, January 18) . Stressed?  Maybe it's information overload.  Sun Herald,  27.)

University of California Berkely has a "How Much Information" project which studies the amount of information produced each year.  "The world's total yearly production of print, film, optical, and magnetic content would require roughly 1.5 billion gigabytes of storage.  This is the equivalent of 250 megabytes per person for each man, woman, and child on earth."  Berkeley:  How Much Information? (new window) (

In March 2007 IDC released a white paper (sponsored by EMC) which forecasts the growth of information through 2010. “In 2006, the amount of digital information created, captures, and replicated was 1,288 X 1018 …This is about 3 million times the information in all books ever written.” In a survey of companies, IDC found that “information workers” spend 14.5 hour/week reading and answering email, 13.3 hours/week creating documents, 9.6 hours/week searching for information, and only 9.5 hours/week analyzing information. The Expanding Digital Universe: A Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth Through 2010 ( )

Page Maintained by: Corryn Crosby-Muilenburg
Page Last Modified: June 25, 2007
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