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Information Overload, Information Literacy and Use of Technology by Students

Authors: Elena Krelja Kurelović, Jasminka Tomljanović, Vlatka Davidović


The development of web technologies and mobile devices makes creating, accessing, using and sharing information or communicating with each other simpler every day. However, while the amount of information constantly increasing it is becoming harder to effectively organize and find quality information despite the availability of web search engines, filtering and indexing tools. Although digital technologies have overall positive impact on students’ lives, frequent use of these technologies and digital media enriched with dynamic hypertext and hypermedia content, as well as multitasking, distractions caused by notifications, calls or messages; can decrease the attention span, make thinking, memorizing and learning more difficult, which can lead to stress and mental exhaustion. This is referred to as “information overload”, “information glut” or “information anxiety”. Objective of this study is to determine whether students show signs of information overload and to identify the possible predictors. Research was conducted using a questionnaire developed for the purpose of this study. The results show that students frequently use technology (computers, gadgets and digital media), while they show moderate level of information literacy. They have sometimes experienced symptoms of information overload. According to the statistical analysis, higher frequency of technology use and lower level of information literacy are correlated with larger information overload. The multiple regression analysis has confirmed that the combination of these two independent variables has statistically significant predictive capacity for information overload. Therefore, the information science teachers should pay attention to improving the level of students’ information literacy and educate them about the risks of excessive technology use.

Keywords: Information overload, technology use, digital media, information literacy, students.

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