Jessie L. Mannisto
Office of Information Technology Policy
American Library Association
OITP Perspectives #2
While constant access to information enabled by digital devices has done much to improve our lives, it also exacts costs with respect to our attention and productivity that are especially harmful in a knowledge- based economy. Increased public awareness of the impact of our information consumption habits—and ways to develop a healthier “information diet”—will help mitigate the negative impacts of constant connectivity.
To build this awareness, librarians and educators can teach information consumers to differentiate actively between gathering and processing information and help them understand when and how each of these modes of thought will benefit them. Libraries also can provide services and spaces that promote contemplation within the modern information infrastructure. Software developers and system engineers can contribute by creating products and services that promote contemplation. Researchers can help us better understand the costs of constant connectivity and tailor an information infrastructure that better supports creative and analytical thought—and, ultimately, a higher quality of life.
About the Author
Jessie Mannisto served as a 2011 Google Policy Fellow with the American Library Association’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP) in Washington, D.C.; in fall 2011, she was appointed as the first OITP Research Associate. She graduated in April 2011 from the University of Michigan with a Master of Science in Information from the School of Information and a graduate certificate in science, technology, and public policy from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.