Contemporary discussions of information overload have important precedents during the years 1550-1750. An examination of the early modern period in Europe, including work of humanism, science, theology, and popular encyclopedias demonstrates that perceptions of information overload have as much to do with the ways in which knowledge is represented as with any quantitative measurers in the production of new texts, ideas, or facts. Key figures in this account include Francis Bacon, Conrard Gesner, Francesco Sacchini, Johann Heinrich Alsted, Casoar Bauhin, Rempert Dodeones, Samuel Bochrt, Johann Jakob Scheuchzer, John Wilkins, Jonathan Swift, Ephraim Chambers, Smauel Johnson, Denis Diderot, and Louis-Sébastian Mercier.