Little Eva, like the rest of us, is overwhelmed by information. She lives in a culture which has 260,000 billboards, 17,000 newspapers, 12,000 periodicals, 27,000 video outlets for renting tapes, 400 million television sets, and well over 500 million radios, not including those in automobiles. There are 40,000 new book titles published every year, and each day 41 million photographs are taken. And, thanks to the computer, over 60 billion pieces of advertising junk mail arrive in our mailboxes every year. Everything from telegraphy and photography in the nineteenth century to the silicon chip in the twentieth has amplified the din of information intruding on Little Eva's consciousness. From millions of sources all over the globe, through every possible channel and medium--light waves, airwaves, ticker tapes, computer banks, telephone wires, television cables, satellites, and printing presses — information pours in. Behind it in every imaginable form of storage — on paper, on video, on audiotape, on discs, film, and silicon chips — is an even greater volume of information waiting to be retrieved.

Neil Postman, The End of Education