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Volume 8 / Issue 5

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DOI:   10.3217/jucs-008-05-0482


The Knowledge-Attention-Gap: Do We Underestimate the Problem of Information Overload in Knowledge Management

Ursula Schneider (Karl Franzens University, Austria)

Abstract: The generation of technical knowledge abounds while the underusage of existing knowledge potential remains a problem in business as well as in society. Generally speaking value can be extracted from knowledge in three ways:

  • by exclusive use
  • by faster access
  • by better translation of public knowledge into products that yield private profit
Each way requires different approaches to KM. But in all cases the problem of how to deal with abundance arises: It arises at the individual as well as at the level of interface design in a knowledge dividing society. First ideas to solve that problem refer to the individual rather than the interface design level:
  • technical solutions
  • psychological solutions
  • neurological solutions
deal with the growing gap between abundant potential knowledge and scarce human attention on the one hand and with restricted human capacity to process information on the other. For the time being a clear focus on good old virtues, such as will (focus), modesty (less is more) and courage (to decide under conditions of incomplete information and uncertainty) seem as trivial intellectually as hard to implement in practice.

Keywords: document-explosion, information overload, intelligent agents, knowledge management, positive ignorance

Categories: A.