Welcome to www.OnlineOrganizing.com -- A World Of Organizing Solutions Your Order Your Shopping Cart About Us Contact Us Site Map
Do You Need Help Getting Organized?Shop For Organizing And Business Development ProductsProfessional Organizing ServicesFind A Seminar, Workshop, Or Keynote SpeakerRead Our Two Free Monthly NewslettersFree Organizing Tips And AdviceResources For Professional OrganizersLearn How To Become A Professional OrganizerUseful Organizing Website LinksUseful Organizing Website Links

Search for:


You Are Here: Home - Blogs

NEW! - Keywords For This Page:   Office - Paper

Blog: Paper And Information Management
The Paperless Society - A MYTH!

16846214We have heard it since the early 1970s - the Internet will make us paperless!  Well, I don't know about you, but my office is not close to being paper-free.   One of the reasons for the plethora of paper is that it is just too darn easy to share information today. 

Let me give you an example.

When I first started working in an office environment, the Internet and email was not really used to share information.  If I had something that others needed to know, it got typed up and I had to walk to the copier and copy it on colored paper.  (Different colors stood for different types of information.)

Before I made copies, I took time to think through who really needed the information.  I would only make the copies that I really needed.  Why?  Because after I made the copies, I had to hand address onto inner-office envelopes. 

Contrast that to today. 

We get something in our in-boxes and decide to send it on.  We hit forward and if we want, we could copy our entire address book!  Ultimately that means that more information is given to more people at a faster pace.

So, how does that lead to more paper?

Most of us do not like to read information on the screen if it is of any length.  We print it!  Then the cycle continues over again and again.

Jonathan Spira of the Basex company has this commentary to share on the paperless office.



Pundits have been proclaiming the imminent arrival of the paperless office since the 1970s.  So far, they've been wrong.  If anything, we print more today than we did back then.

Yet some still believe in this; those who engage in looking for the paperless office may be engaging in a Sisyphean task.

The New York Times ran a story on February 10 by Hannah Fairfield entitled "Pushing Paper Out the Door."  It speaks of paper-reducing technologies in homes and offices, citing families who scan their bills and opt for on-line statements.  To Fairfield I say "not so fast."

Indeed Fairfield quotes Brewster Kahle, the founder of the Internet Archive: "Paper is no longer the master copy; the digital version is. Paper has been dealt a complete deathblow.  When was the last time you saw a telephone book?"

To respond directly to Kahle, last week.  My friend and fellow analyst Amy Wohl famously commented, around 1978, that she thought that the paperless office was "about as useful as the paperless toilet."

But the article had a bigger problem.  While it provided an excellent look on the move to digitization, it completely ignored the elephant in the room, namely a compatibility conundrum that has been with us since the first computer was turned on over 60 years ago.

Books, pamphlets, and broadsides printed hundreds of years ago are accessible without any special equipment.  For that matter, the Rosetta Stone (dating from 196 B.C.E.), was also readable upon its discovery in 1799.

Contrast this with millions of files on 8" or even 5 1/4" floppy diskettes, various obsolete tape cartridges, and NASA's earliest photographs of the earth - all mostly inaccessible with today's technology.

One might presume that the technology revolution of the late twentieth century had increased our ability to preserve our history and cultural artifacts.  In actuality, we have failed.

Moving all of our papers to digital form without a plan to ensure accessibility not only 5 years from now but 50 years and 100 years and beyond is not making information MORE accessible but risking that it will become LESS accessible.

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex.  He can be reached at

What do you think?  Can we go paperless?  What have you done?  Share your thoughts below by making a comment in the blog comment section.

To your success!

posted on: 3/8/2008 10:30:00 AM by Stephanie Calahan
category: Paper

Paper And Information Management: < Previous Post - Next Post >
Blog Central: < Previous Post - Next Post >

Discuss This Post

There are no comments.

Add a comment about this post:
(Note: To reduce blogspam, HTML tags are not permitted in blog comments and will be removed)
Please Enter The Following Code:
In order to cut down on SPAM, we ask that you enter the code exactly as shown in image below. If you can't read the code, simply select "Load New Code" and a different graphic will appear. Cookies must be enabled on your web browser.
Code Image - Please contact webmaster if you have problems seeing this image code Load New Code
Powered by Web Wiz CAPTCHA version 2.01
Copyright ©2005-2006 Web Wiz


Paper And Information Management

by Stephanie Calahan

View This Blog

   Subscribe To This Blog

About Stephanie:

Stephanie L. H. Calahan is a Productivity and Organization Consultant, Coach, Speaker, Author. She is also the founder of Calahan Solutions, Inc. – Productive & Organized, We'll Help You Find Your Way a premier productivity consulting firm, serving a national and local clients in corporate settings, home-based businesses, and residential environments. Her organizing expertise, Computer Science and HR backgrounds give her a unique perspective on what works at work.

Stephanie's Website:


My Favorite Websites for Business & Office

  • The Publicity Hound
    Are you new to the business world and don't know where to start to get your business the recognition it needs and deserves? Then this site is for you! Joan Stewart aka the Publicity Hound shares all kinds of fabulous information about getting free publicity. Sign up for her free tutorial and learn ways to get noticed now!
  • Paper Tiger Productivity Institute
    Get resources for organizing your business!
  • The Definitive Guide to Google AdWords
    Google has a system that makes it possible, for the first time in the history of the world, to deposit five bucks, write a couple of ads, and instantly get access to over 100 million people - in less than 10 minutes. It's called Google AdWords and it's hot. In fact it may be the first and best thing to do to get traffic to your site. But it's not always as easy as I just made it sound - AdWords has some nuances, and most people have a rough time at first. Well my colleague Perry Marshall has written a very helpful e-course called "5 days to success with Google AdWords" and there's no charge for it.
  • The Definitive Guide to Writing & Promoting White Papers
    If you sell any kind of complex service, technology or sophisticated product, a White Paper is the best way to educate your customers about that technology. You can use a white paper to build your credibility, get free exposure in the press, attract new customers, and drive new technology into change-resistant, conservative markets. Most white papers are either too technical (boring) or too commercial (thin and cheesy) - but Perry Marshall has written a guide that shows you how to strike the perfect balance. But what's most important of all, though, is promoting and publicizing your white paper - because the best white paper in the world is no good unless somebody reads it!
  • Guerilla Marketing
    Most sales people spend all day dialing for dollars, chasing prospects who are mentally if not physically backing away from them, and they waste most of their time chasing deals instead of closing them. At the same time, most companies spend all kinds of money on advertising and don't get nearly enough bang for their buck. Perry Marshall's "Guerilla Marketing for Hi-Tech Sales People" is an information-packed audio CD that discusses 21 principles that you can use to eliminate cold prospecting and wasted advertising dollars in today's fiercely competitive B2B marketplace.

My Favorite Organizing Tools

  • EasyReach Find & Workspace - ask for a 30 day free trial
    EasyReach Find & Workspace are the ultimate in digital organization. Spend less time looking for information and more time working with it.
  • Paper Tiger Software
    The Paper Tiger software is a powerful filing system that uses the power of your computer to help you get organized and stay organized. Find anything in 5 seconds! We use it both at home and at work.
  • NeatReceipts Scanalizer
    I LOVE this paper organizer! Get control over your loose receipts, business cards, personal taxes, home office taxes, expense reports, business documents and personal documents. It is amazing how it can read off of the papers it scans.
  • SwiftFile
    Get control of your desk with the SwiftFile Desktop filling system. They can be ordered with or without the matching file box. This is the Best Action Filing System I have seen.
  • Send Out Cards - Try their free guest account
    This is one of the best tools I have ever used for contacts, reminders and physical cards too! Go to the site and check out their free guest account. Better to see it for yourself than for me to try to tell you.

My Favorite Websites for the Home

  • Mrs. A's Coupon Organizer
    Mrs. A's has done it again. They developed a great coupon organizer that allows you to find things quickly and actually USE the coupons you cut out.
  • Box4Blox
    Introducing BOX4BLOX ™... the Simple Toy Storage Organizer for LEGO ® That Gets Rid of That "Lego Disaster Zone" From the Floor ONCE AND FOR ALL!
  • Send Out Cards - try their free guest account!
    This system lets you type a message then they print it in your handwriting, stuff it, stamp it and mail it when you tell them to. All for LESS than what you would pay to buy a card at a store.
  • www.OnlineOrganizing.com!

My Favorite Goal Setting Tools

  • My Goal Manager
    MyGoalManager.com's Online System takes Goal Setting to whole new level! If you like online tools, this one is fantastic.
  • My Motivator
    My Motivator is a great online service that helps you identify your goals and then stay on track with those goals with audio to learn from and reminders that are sent to you.

My Favorite Books on Paper & Information

  • Taming the Paper Tiger at Home
    Strange as it may sound, having the right information at the right time can help you save money or have a good time. Barbara Hemphill tells you how to tame the "paper tiger" with quick, practical solutions to managing every piece of paper that comes into your house. She'll show you how to decide what to keep, what to toss, where to keep it—and most important—how to find it exactly when you need it, so you make room for your life!
  • Taming the Paper Tiger at Work
    Despite the promise of the paperless office, most of us are mired in the stuff—and deluged with electronic information as well. The use of computers, e-mail, the Internet, and faxes probably forces you to contend with more paper than ever. But setting up and efficient system to organize all the information is easier than you might think. Barbara Hemphill will show you how.

My Favorite Books on Time & Productivity Management

  • 30 Hours A Day - Ultimate Time Management Program
    How Much More Money Would You Make With An Extra 6 Extra Hours Of Productivity Every Day? Drop-dead Simple Tutoring Of Rapid Results Coach Dave Navarro Makes It Easier Than You Ever Thought It Could Be.
  • Outsource And Delegate
    How To Work Less And Make A Lot More Money!
  • Successful Time Management
    Successful Time Management. An Easy-to-read, Ebook That Will Have You Getting More Done, In Less Time, Than Ever Before. It Just Takes A Few Minutes Each Day To Put These Time Management Systems In To Place.

Our Web Sites

Add this page to your Bookmarks!

E-mail this page to a friend!

www.OnlineOrganizing.com is a service mark of Bradford, LLC.
Content on this site is © Bradford, LLC, All rights reserved.

If you notice any problems with this site, please contact our webmaster.
And if you don't see what you need you are welcome to "ask the organizer" any question!

To see what people are saying about www.OnlineOrganizing.com, check out our visitor comments.

Click here to view our privacy policy.

Calendar Of Organizing Holidays And Events Blog Central Sign Up For Our Free Online Newsletters Join The Conversation At Our Organizing Discussion Board Advertise Your Company On Our Website Be An Affiliate Of www.OnlineOrganizing.com
Check Us Out On FaceBook