23 July 2012

Why tech can't break the hold on paper

BBC piece that gives a fascinating glimpse into digitizing material – the time and cost and also the benefits ...

The promise we can all go paperless has been around for years so why is it that despite email, smartphones and computers we are all still so dependent on pen and paper?

LJ Rich explores why paper has such staying power in our hi-tech age.

The above video starts with a discussion about the UK Archives and the “cost” and “process” of going paperless. There is also a related piece Is the paperless office possible? that explores this further.

And, Dick Eastman, of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter has long been a proponent of going “paperless.”

What are your thoughts?  Will we eventually be a paperless society? Is that good, bad, or not matter as far as genealogical research?

copyright © National Genealogical Society, 3108 Columbia Pike, Suite 300, Arlington, Virginia 22204-4370. http://www.ngsgenealogy.org.
Republication of UpFront articles is permitted and encouraged for non-commercial purposes without express permission from NGS. Please drop us a note telling us where and when you are using the article. Express written permission is required if you wish to republish UpFront articles for commercial purposes. You may send a request for express written permission to [email protected]. All republished articles may not be edited or reworded and must contain the copyright statement found at the bottom of each UpFront article.
Follow NGS via Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter
Think your friends, colleagues, or fellow genealogy researchers would find this blog post interesting? If so, please let them know that anyone can read past UpFront with NGS posts or subscribe!
Suggestions for topics for future UpFront with NGS posts are always welcome. Please send any suggested topics to [email protected]


  1. Cherie BrumfieldJuly 23, 2012 10:22 PM

    I truly believe that it's going to be at least 2 more generation before the "paperless" office will be an actual reality. For the "baby boomer" generation, AND their offspring, holding actual paper, printing out what is considered "important" information, holding "real" books, is too-much an ingrained norm. Example, I have a Nook--which I really like, especially for travel, but I still enjoy buying "real" books to read--plus, my husband likes a lot of the same books I do, and he won't use Nooks or Kindles or any of those things! My grandson's generation, however, was born directly into the "computer generation"--they don't consider it strange or unusual to read EVERYTHING on computers or other electronic devices. My grandson, in fact, prefers reading books on his Nook. And his children's generation may well wonder what "paper" is. But, in spite of Dick Eastman, I don't believe that we're quite ready to become a "completely paperless" society.

  2. I'm an old dog learning new tricks. I still like to manipulate documents, images on paper. But I'd like to learn how to use Excel for more than just bookkeeping (which I don't do very well either).

    Mary Clement Douglass
    Transcribing & publishing Kansas genealogical records
    Have lectures, Will travel!
    URL: www.historical-matters.com