Why do we still need document storage boxes?

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We’re into the second decade of the 21st century and archive storage should be simple. We have the means to store documents and information quickly and in vast quantities on discs and hard drives you can comfortably carry in your pocket or briefcase. Or you can even bypass such antiquated concepts and keep all your records and archives in cloud-based storage, ie on a remote server. Communication is quick and easy, complete with attached files.

And yet invoices and bills still get posted and even when they do get emailed or made available to download from a website, they will often get printed off and filed. Most companies still have considerable space given over to shelving systems holding rows and rows of archive boxes, packed with invoices, orders, faxes, bills and so on. Is this all just an outdated habit or do we inherently not trust something we can’t touch and feel?


Heads in the clouds?

First of all, let’s not forget that we are talking about comparatively modern technology here. It’s less than 20 years since the internet entered our daily lives, and even less than that since we had anything bigger than a floppy disk (with a capacity of a megabyte or two only!) to store files onto.

What that essentially means is that there are millions of people working today who learned their jobs the old way. And while many have embraced the new systems and tools gleefully, just as many view them with suspicion. Words and phrases like ‘crash’, ‘hack’, ‘identity theft’ and ‘virus’ are not ones to imbue confidence in those already reluctant to trust the modern world.

In a similar vein, books, cd’s and dvd’s are also meant to be becoming outdated. Why clog your house up with all that plastic and paper, the argument goes, when you can keep it on one ereader, ipad or ipod, stream it online or access it from cloud-based storage much cheaper? Are cd’s and books not effectively also document storage boxes – smaller, but, in the end, just as unnecessary?


For the record…

I’m no Luddite, but here I have to place myself in the ‘old school’ camp; I love cds (like I used to love LP’s!) and cannot imagine not being able to buy an album I can take home and put on the stereo. The plastic packaging materials they come in may not be as enticing as the old-style album covers, but it’s better than nothing! And as for not having books with real pages to turn…

In other words, I think – and hope! – we’re a long, long way from making our existence entirely digital just yet. However, we are now at a point where the generation who have known nothing but the internet and high volume digital storage are becoming adults. As their numbers increase we get ever nearer to the point where the paper-free office is a reality.

On the plus side, there should be a lot of jobs created – someone will have to digitise all those paper records!

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Rick Stanford

Rick has been a salesman in the packaging supplies business for more than thirty years. Now semi-retired, he divides his time between tending his allotment in north Devon, getting depressed at the continuing travails of his home-town football club Macclesfield Town, and sharing his considerable experience and knowledge with the readers of the Davpack blog. Davpack

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