Overcoming Reading Overload
The problem of reading overload has been approached (but not solved) in five major ways: (1) specialization, (2) condensed surrogation, (3) indexing, (4) skipping, and (5) refusal to believe that the problem exists. These approaches have had no appreciable effect on reading overload in the past thirty-four years--although the problem has, as has been pointed out in chapter 3, received continuing attention by information scientists, librarians, and others. It is useful to examine each of these five ways in some detail before discussing operational systems for overcoming reading overload. It is also important to examine the reasons why operational systems have not been widely implemented. An examination of the five ways will help to reveal the path that will lead to the complete solution of the problem of reading overload.
Without some specialization, keeping up with the literature of any discipline will probably continue to be hopeless. It is reasonably certain that specialization must play a vital role in all information systems of the future. The "Renaissance Man," if he ever existed, is highly unlikely to reappear; there is simply too much to read for any one person to encompass all. This means that consortia of consulting, cooperating specialists