How to Deal with Information Overload . . . in the 17th Century

Prof. Ann Blair, photo by Stephanie Mitchell/Harvard Staff Photographer

Ann Blair, Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, points out that information overload is not a problem particular to our digital age.

In her article, "Reading Strategies for Coping with Information Overload, ca. 1550-1700", Prof. Blair discusses how, in early modern Europe, "the perception of an overabundance of books fueled the production of many more books, of especially large ones, designed to remedy the problem—from new genres like the universal bibliography and the book review to new (or not-so-new) contributions to well-established genres, including the florilegium, the dictionary, and the encyclopedic compilation."

Blair discusses this issue in depth in her new book Too Much to Know: Managing Scholarly Information Before the Modern Age and interviewed about the book for the NPR program "Talk of the Nation."

You can find a complete list of Prof. Blair's works in DASH here.