The media have identified the last decade as “the age of distraction.” People today find it harder to work on long, sustained tasks because distractions are eroding their attention span, fostering a culture of discontinuity. Fields as diverse as psychology, business, education, human-computer interaction, and communication studies have produced a wealth of studies on interruptions, distractions, and multitasking–research that has important implications for reference librarians. The nature of our jobs invites interruptions by the public, requires familiarity with the latest technology, stimulates curiosity about a broad range of subjects, and demands adeptness at multitasking–all factors which can atomize attention.
Dewan, Pauline. “Can I Have Your Attention? Implications of the Research on Distractions and Multitasking for Reference Librarians.” The Reference Librarian 55, no. 2 (2014): 95-117.