Coping with Information Overload, 1964

To cope with the present information explosion we suggest the following:  1) No one should publish any new papers. 2) If 1) is not feasible only short papers should be published. “Short” means not more than 2500 characters counting “space,” punctuation marks, etc. as characters. 3) If 2) is adopted the following restriction should apply: “Only those papers should be published which delete one or more existing papers whose combined length is 2501 characters or more.”

An important byproduct of the above suggested practice would be the reduction of the burden on personnel selection committees. This will happen because the person’s list of publications will be replaced by a single negative number denoting the net number of papers he has deleted from the present information store.

–Harry J. Gray, and Henry Ruston, “On Techniques for Coping with the Information Explosion,” in IEEE Transactions on Electronic Computers, April 1964

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