We Don't Know Until It's Gone

Filed under: Asides — Tags: , , , — by heavenlyevil @ 10:26 am on May 7, 2008

I spent the last few weeks scanning some very old family photos and it gave me plenty of time to think about the digitization of paper-based media, and why I have such mixed feelings about it.

I appreciate the ability to preserve documents and photos by moving them to a digital format. But at the same time, doing so removes a lot of information you gain by working with the originals. We interact with objects using all of our senses, but when dealing with digital media we are no longer interacting with the object as such, but with the object we are using to access the media.

If I’ve lost you, think of it like the difference between watching a video of something and actually being there. You lose the connection that you have from being part of the experience and interacting with your environment.

I find this extra layer problematic. Sure, you can read the same text you could have read before and you can see the same images that you could before. But not in the same way. Something gets lost because we no longer have that direct interaction with the object.