Get More Context, More Nuance, and More Value

According to researchers at Microsoft Canada, the attention span of humans has dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds, one second shorter than goldfish. The decline is attributed primarily to smartphone use, which puts a premium on quickly identifying information that is of interest to the user and places much less value on processing that information and committing it to memory.

If in fact our attention spans have gotten shorter—and the Microsoft research has its detractors—what explains the enduring appeal of long-form content, such as that found in magazines? The reasons are many, but the most common explanations are that it provides more nuance and more context, not to mention more information. In short, more value.

That’s the premise of Information Outlook, SLA’s online magazine. With columns on marketing, copyright, and technology and articles on topics such as data visualization, concept mapping, and outsourcing, Information Outlook provides content that does more than just inform—it raises questions, encourages reflection, and invites analysis. For example, consider these two excerpts from the November-December 2017 issue:

  • “. . . [W]ith all of the changes taking place in how information is produced and made available, we librarians and other information professionals have found it ever more difficult to explain how we contribute to the information process. This sets up the question of whether the information specialist is needed at all, whether as an intermediary or in some other capacity.” — Jim Matarazzo and Toby Pearlstein, “A Strategic Roadmap for Professional Sustainability?”
  • “Most of us can expect numerous career transitions that will require ‘upskilling’ and professional development. . . The world of information professionals is no exception; in fact, the level and complexity of knowledge and skills required for career progression in this field are arguably escalating faster than in other fields.” — Deborah Everhart, “Communicating Competencies for Information Professionals”

What can readers expect from Information Outlook in 2018? Articles on mentoring, supporting entrepreneurship and innovation, communicating your library’s mission, and improving the user experience (see the editorial calendar for more topics). Personal reflections by experienced librarians. Case studies and research summaries. Interviews with information professionals in diverse work settings and countries. And additional insights into copyright, marketing, and technology.

More context. More nuance. More value. Get more from Information Outlook this year. Not an SLA member? Join now!

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