January 22, 2022

New Policy Brief from ALA: "Restoring Contemplation: How Disconnecting Bolsters the Knowledge Economy"


Restoring Contemplation: How Disconnecting Bolsters the Knowledge Economy


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.

Direct to Full Text (12 pages; PDF)

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.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.