This continues last week’s discussion about paper, which started with my post on Acid & Lignin.
I’ve been learning a lot about paper and it’s made me think about why I scrapbook. Here are two wildly different ways to think about paper. There’s a happy ending, I promise.
Paper is Organic
All paper is organic and will eventually deteriorate.
That’s a sobering thought, isn’t it?
I think about this when Mr. P is watching episodes of the Universe. It makes me think of how short and small our existence is, what will eventually happen to our planet, and why I even bother scrapbooking. Even the most archival quality papers will deteriorate eventually, probably before our planet will.
When I think in those terms, I have to get my head screwed on straight and think about why I scrapbook. It’s my hobby, I like doing it. The byproduct of the hobby is something to show to family and friends. Still, at the end of the day, I’m doing it for me.
Paper is Still a Very Viable Record Format
Let’s look at this from the other direction. So paper deteriorates. You know what deteriorates faster? Much much faster? Digital media.
After reading the above, you are probably wondering why you should scrapbook and maybe that you should just keep digital files and not print anything. Wrong!
One of the fascinating things I’m learning as I study paper is how versatile it is. You don’t need special software to read a paper book. You don’t need a password. In our society today, there is such a concern about how to disseminate information quickly and little thought put into long term preservation.
Some even argue that our cultural record of today will disappear faster than the cultural record of the past because today’s record is digital. Digital material can degrade, become obsolete or become unusable much faster than paper. There are no standards on how to preserve digital data for the long term.
So, even though paper will eventually deteriorate, it’s actually more reliable than digital. What’s the point here? The time you take getting photos off your computer and into scrapbooks or albums matters. Yes, everything will eventually deteriorate, but paper is still a very reliable method for storing information.
Happy ending? I’m still scrapbooking!