HP Labs Technical Reports

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The Paperful Office Paradox

Frohlich, David; Perry, Mark



Abstract: Developments in information technology are lowering the barriers to the input of paper-based information into computers. However, the consumption and use of paper itself shows no sign of declining. We offer an explanation of this paradox in terms of the functions of paper as a cognitive and social artifact. In particular, we show how paper is used to support cognition as a filter and reminder for information, and to support social interaction as a medium for asynchronous communication. These functions are identified from detailed interviews and observations on the creation of paper through writing, photocopying and printing. The implications of the findings for new office technology are discussed

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