Information Overload Is Fact of Life

The great library of Alexandria, in Egypt, that was burned by Julius Caesar's forces in 47 B.C. is said to have contained sin hundred thousand papyrus scrolls – virtually all the recorded information in the world.

Fifteen hundred years later, the entire library collection at Queen's College, Cambridge, amounted to 199 volumes.

Thomas Jefferson's collection of six thousand books, one of the great personal libraries of his age, became the basis for the Library of Congress. Today the Library of Congress contains 113 million items and 20,000 more arrive every day. That’s equivalent to 15 Terabytes.

15 Terabytes equals only 0.0146484375 Petabytes. Google processes around 1 petabyte every hour! 

All the letters delivered by American's postal service this year will amount to around 5 petabytes.  1024 petabtyes equals 1 exabyte.  Five exabytes equals 37,000 new libraries the size of the Library of Congress.

By 2013, the amount of traffic flowing over the Internet is expected to exceed 668 exabytes. This information, available to the average individual at any given point in time, is one hundred thousand times what it was just a few decades ago.


We are living in a world deluged with data.  Peak employee performance in the future won't be based on what you know but how you acquire, analyze, and apply the data. In other words, how effectively an employee can convert data into knowledge will differentiate skilled workers from the rest of the workforce.


Ira S Wolfe