30 October 2013

I love digital, but sometimes paper is just better ... What do you think?

Though many enthusiastically embrace a paper-free world, I have to agree with Boris Veldhuijzen van Zanten when he states “I love digital, but sometimes paper is just better.”

He goes onto say ...

There are just moments when paper is still superior to digital, in at least these five categories:
- Boarding passes
- Taking notes in meetings
- Sticky notes
- Magazines
- Business cards

I wholeheartedly agree with taking notes in meetings and sticky notes! There is no easy/quick/efficient way on my laptop that I can take notes in the margins, use circles to connect one item to another, link seemingly disparate ideas and more!  My notes often become a flow chart of my thinking.  I attend a lecture, hear about a resource (which I note) and then I think of a project where I should apply that resource and then that reminds me of something related to the local genealogy society, etc.  I think you get the picture.

And, sticky notes – I use them every day.  Though I have a notes app on my cell phone, I only see it when I check my cell phone.  I use sticky notes on my research papers to point out my research target for the day, to put brief “to do” items lists that I can then throw out (and with great satisfaction) when done, to put on my computer screen to remind me of something critical to do as the very first item when I get to my laptop (e.g. write an Upfront with NGS post for that day), etc.  I have used many other means (low tech and high tech) and the colorful, multi-sized and ubiquitous sticky note is still a must use tool for me.

Another paper must use for me is a calendar.  Though I do use Google Calendar to coordinate activities, I use a weekly paper calendar to “document” what I have done as well as note future appointments. This is my only form of “diary” and for that reason I still find consider it superior to Google Calendar.

Additionally, I still think that there is a lot to be said for hand-written notes and cards.  Though I have sent e-cards (more often than I care to admit), there are times when something heartfelt and hand-written has a warmth and intimacy that an e-card just cannot pull off.

Whether we are talking our personal world or our genealogical research world, are there other categories of usage where you feel that paper is still superior to digital?

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