Why am I depressed? Because 1) there is no way that quality has kept pace with quantity, 2) it's impossible to keep up with all major developments across the entire field. It means that much more of my time has to be spent filtering the flood of publications, not wasting time on irrelevant stuff, but not missing the good stuff either.
Fortunately, filtering tools are better. There are automated search tools like PubCrawler (you've gotta love that name), and, since almost everything is now online, you don't have to trudge over to the library to follow up on a potentially worthless paper.
According to this review in Science, researchers now aim "to move rapidly through the literature to assess and exploit content with as little actual reading as possible."
Now, as scientists search and browse, they are making queries and selecting information in much tighter iterations and with many different kinds of objectives in mind, almost as if they were playing a fast-paced video game. They sweep through resources, changing search strings, chaining references backward and citations forward, dodging integrator and publisher sites to find open-access copies, continually working to reduce the number of clicks required for access. By note-taking or cutting and pasting, scientists often extract and accumulate bits of specific information, such as findings, equations, protocols, and data. In this process, rapid judgments are made—such as assessments of relevance, impact, and quality—while search queries are being formulated and refined. (Fig. 3). The goal often seems to be undifferentiated assimilation of information about a domain or a problem at hand, and the online experience may be highly valuable, even though no clear aim is met and no articles to read are located.
Personally, I find this a pain in the ass. The problem with 'undifferentiated assimilation' is that one winds up spending almost as much time on irrelevant or lousy papers as on highly relevant papers.