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Have information overload? VA Librarians are here to help!

By: Nancy A Clark, MLS, Director, Library Network Office, Central Office

The term “information overload” was coined by Bertram Gross, the Professor of Political Science at Hunter College, in his 1964 work – The Managing of Organizations. However, it was popularized by Alvin Toffler, the American writer and futurist, in his book “Future Shock” in 1970. (

If we were in information overload in the 1970’s, you can only imagine what it is like today. You need to filter through all that information to find the best information. Let your VA librarians help you out!

On a regular basis (weekly to monthly), VA librarians conduct literature searches on topics that are of concern to VHA. These topics range from clinical topics such as pain management and the opioid epidemic to administrative topics such as wait times and HRO/Just Culture. Be sure to note the weekly alert on simulation. Once the librarians have conducted the search, they filter it to ensure the citations are on target to the topic and to VHA staff. The results are then sent to your VA Outlook email. If the article is one that is part of VHA’s national core collection, there will be a link that takes you directly to the article. If not, you are encouraged to request the article via interlibrary loan from your local librarian.

To sign up for this service, visit the VHA National Desktop Library: Fill out the information at the top of the page, check all the topics of interest and hit the submit button at the bottom of the page.

An additional way of keeping up with the literature is to sign up to receive the table of contents of selected journals:

Again, simply fill out the form, select the journal titles and submit your request. The table of contents will appear in your Outlook mail. Since these are all national subscriptions, there will be a hyperlink in the table of contents to take you directly to the article.

If you have any questions about library resources, check first with your local librarian and if needed, reach out to the Library Network Office.