Paper has a rich and colorful history, and I believe, from time to time, it’s essential to bring it to light. So, I thought to share with you some thoughts. I am sure that in the age of technology, when everything is happening at the speed of light, going back to our roots can become a delightful journey. Thus, I thought, that today we could make a trip to ancient China when magic appears to have happened, and that’s paper. Everybody knows that Chinese culture is filled with significant works and achievements, but let me share with you just four of them, also called “The Four Great Inventions”: Compass, gunpowder, printing, and papermaking. This brings us to the subject I want to discuss today – paper.
Paper was invented around 100 BC in China by Ho-Ti, under the Han Dynasty. I will not get into more details, though, I must confess, that is a great story, and I strongly recommend you read more about it. Since then, people have been using paper more and more, becoming one of the most influential tools for spreading the word, and not only. Poets, painters, musicians, all great minds needed paper to lay out their emotions and share them with all of us. More than that, people were using paper for sharing valuable information and discoveries. Wait…we are still reading newspapers with our coffee in the morning. In conclusion, I hope you all agree that paper has changed the world completely, and brought all of us closer to each other.
However, as the time flew away, and we advanced more and more in technology, the paper has become vulnerable, and most of us are reluctant in using it for essential records. Today, we have at our disposal, electronic devices that keep our information safer. Let me share with you some of these vulnerabilities:
• Disasters – Only in the last couple of months we have witnessed the fury of nature. Fires, hurricanes, snowstorms, all of these natural disasters are threatening all the paper records around the world, and unfortunately, nobody can prevent them. What we can do though, is minimize the damages, and keep our records electronically, or at least have all our paper records backed up digitally.
• Overuse – A paper is a great discovery, indeed, but it will not preserve indefinitely. This is also one of the reasons why it’s important to keep our files on digital devices, as well.
• Low security – Keeping sensitive paper files in unlocked record storage, on our desks or in any other place for that matter, we are actually inviting anyone to have a look. You can’t put a 4-digit password on a paper, but you can lock that information on a secure device, such as a laptop.
• Data tempering: Anyone who has access to a paper record can remove pages, add entries or “adjust” the original entries.
Bottom line, keep all your sensitive information on digital devices or in the cloud, and your thoughts and emotions on paper.