Tuesday, 15 May 2007

"Why I prefer hardcopy" - bizarre...

I've just finished reading one of the most bizarre articles to appear in the RMS Bulletin for many a year. It is entitled 'Why I prefer hardcopy' and is by Katrina Hughes. It first appeared in Freepint and is well worth a read for its novelty value.

It really does have some odd statements in it, such as "if you do not have the computer resources to print something out, only one person can look at an electronic document at a time". Now I wouldn't like to hazard a guess at how many people are looking at the BBC website simultaneously but I wouldn't mind betting its more than one.

She also makes some rather strange remarks about the portability of paper over electronic documents. Okay, so it might be easier to read one page of paper on a bus than open your laptop but its hardly a scalable argument. New drug submissions to the FDA used to take up several lorries worth of paper. Not surprisingly they now ask for them on CD ROM...

Finally (and it was at this point I really lost the will to live) she claims that hardcopy is better because it is so much easier to find than electronic copies, noting that "when you download a document from the internet... sometimes the name of the file doesn't match the title of the document. Inevitably, the file name contains numbers and letters that jumble into a code that may even include non-alpha-numeric characters. I have difficulty finding documents I just downloaded."

Now would you like to tell this worker in the "information industry" about how to rename a document, or shall I?.....

For a far more interesting glimpse of how the worlds of paper and electronic media are converging take a look at Xerox's plans for a new printing technology which does not require ink and results in reusable electronic paper...

2 comments:

Deirdre Sharp said...

Katrina Hughes' point about one reader of an electronic document at a time is true of corporate shared drives.

Steve Bailey said...

Point taken. Though it is usually possible to 'view' a document being used by another user, even if it isn't possible to edit it