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Two New Words

May - 2 - 2007
Nicole C. Engard

Today I learned 2 new words: Metatasking & Informavores. I just finished reading Devin Zimmerman’s April 15th Library Journal article titled Metatasking v. Multitasking.

Metatasking is a process that involves undertaking any number of tasks that ultimately accomplish one primary objective.

As many institutions continue to move toward information commons and collaborative learning models, encouraging metatasking"”that is deep, focused multitasking"”makes sense.

* * *
The term informavore has been bandied around to describe the role of information-seekers these days. But, in our information-gathering world, it simply makes sense for us to want to accomplish as much as we can and to use the technologies we have available to do so. We all do this in one way or another.

What an interesting way to think of things. I think I am a metatasker. I do juggle things, but I do it in an organized fashion. If I’m in the middle of a project and you IM me – you’ll just have to wait because I don’t like to break the flow.

I’m also an informavore – what librarian isn’t? I love gathering information – for myself, but also for others – that’s why this blog was started. I also send a ton of emails at work with “FYI” in the subject – sending fellow staff members links to resources I think would interest them – or help them in their work.

Devin also addresses the question of whether this constant multitasking (or metatasking) is causing Millennials to have shorter attention spans.

It’s wrong to assume automatically that today’s metatasking Millennials are unfocused. They’re just optimizing. Our students today are often simultaneously burdened with a full course load, jobs, families, personal lives, and more. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that they try to get the best results in the least amount of time or with the least amount of effort.

Very interesting article – you should give it a read.

One Response so far.

  1. Melissa J. says:

    This reminded me of those jobs that I’ve had where it was more important to LOOK busy rather than to BE busy. I hated that. I would rather hurry up, get done, and move on if I need to, or leave if I’m done for the day.


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