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University of Michigan School of Information


Thomer: Non-academics need better tools to navigate information spaces

Andrea Thomer essay in Slate

Monday, 03/15/2021

UMSI assistant professor Andrea Thomer recently published an essay on about the challenges faced by people searching for useful information in a time of information overload.

The essay was written as a response to a speculative fiction mystery short story by Leigh Alexander, published as part of Slate’s Future Tense Fiction series. Alexander’s “The Void,” examines the existential overwhelm that comes from information overload.

Who among us hasn’t felt creeping dread, ‘an antimatter of the heart,’ in Alexander’s words, as we contemplate to navigating overly crowded, sometimes hostile, information spaces?

Thomer’s essay, “The Conundrum of Information Scarcity in a Time of Information Overload,” discusses news site and scholarly journal paywalls, the challenge non-academics can face navigating keyword searches, and ways to break down those barriers.

Read Thomer’s complete essay on

Read “The Void,” by Leigh Alexander.