Paper, paper everywhere

Piles of paper are on my desk(s). I've been feeling a little frustrated by them all: why do I have so many piles when my work 95% is digital? Feeling kind of guilty, too. But this book review is very interesting, and explains a lot about our desktop towers: The Social Life of Paper by Malcolm Gladwell. (The New Yorker). [I found this in Boxes and Arrows, in a comment by Dan Saffer. What? I actually read the discussion comments?! Of course--they're usually much more informative, or have more sense, than the article under discussion.]

I am not alone:
"The consumption of uncoated free-sheet paper, for instance--the most common kind of office paper--rose almost fifteen per cent in the United States between 1995 and 2000. This is generally taken as evidence of how hard it is to eradicate old, wasteful habits and of how stubbornly resistant we are to the efficiencies offered by computerization. A number of cognitive psychologists and ergonomics experts, however, don't agree. Paper has persisted, they argue, for very good reasons: when it comes to performing certain kinds of cognitive tasks, paper has many advantages over computers. The dismay people feel at the sight of a messy desk--or the spectacle of air-traffic controllers tracking flights through notes scribbled on paper strips--arises from a fundamental confusion about the role that paper plays in our lives."

The review is about the book The Myth of the Paperless Office, by Abigail Sellen and Richard Harper.

So, the truth is, those piles all over the place make me more efficient, they serve a purpose, and those pieces of paper we print out and spread out when we're making a website or a kiosk interface are the right way to do it. So there.
Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 12/28/02 at 04:51 PM
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