"Infoglut" survey conducted

Oct. 1, 1997
Another question that the editors of Cabling Installation & Maintenance have been examining recently is how our readers handle the buzz of information that assails them every day and whether they are feeling overloaded by it. At a conference held not long ago by bicsi, the audience for a talk on the so-called infoglut problem was asked to fill out a survey on their information needs and habits. A total of 82 members of the audience returned the survey form.

Another question that the editors of Cabling Installation & Maintenance have been examining recently is how our readers handle the buzz of information that assails them every day and whether they are feeling overloaded by it. At a conference held not long ago by bicsi, the audience for a talk on the so-called infoglut problem was asked to fill out a survey on their information needs and habits. A total of 82 members of the audience returned the survey form.

The results of this survey suggest that there is, indeed, a problem with information management in the cabling industry. For example, 77% of the survey respondents said they personally subscribed to a cabling-industry magazine, but only 43% said they read it from cover to cover each month. Almost three-quarters (71%) of those filling out the survey form claimed that they received more information during each workday than they could readily cope with, and almost two-thirds (65%) admitted that it was increasingly difficult to sort out what was significant from information that was trivial.

Here are some other important statistics from the "infoglut" survey:

-Number of respondents reading a paid-subscription cabling-industry newsletter (54%)

Percentage of respondents using books in their work (87%)

-Those using audiovisual training aids or computer-based training in self-study or correspondence courses over previous six months to increase job knowledge (71%)

-Respondents attending distributor or manufacturer training in last six months (71%)

-Survey participants undergoing computer or software upgrade in last six months (93%)

-Those using voicemail at work (89%)

-Those using electronic mail at work (85%)

-Those with Internet access at work (51%)

The survey also elicited many thoughtful comments, among them:

-"I can`t wait for `news-on-demand` based on searching wire services by keyword."

-"It is our challenge to sort through and decide what information is valuable and what is not. Bring on the information!"

-"The public library system has had the Dewey Decimal System for many years. Is it difficult to apply a similar type of cataloging system to electronic information? Why have we not seen it yet?"

-"I am beginning to use information-filtering techniques: I sort e-mails into folders based on information type; I respond to voicemail based on customer priorities or needs; I keep databases on important customers that detail historical response information."

-"How can we make use of information to make life simpler rather than adding increased complexity?"

-"The quantity of information that can be absorbed is limited by time. I could spend all my working time absorbing information."

-"`Infoglut?` `Info flood.` It all amounts to the same thing: too much extraneous information, too little time."

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