I watched a video from Patrick Rhone where he mentioned that paper is still the best medium to store text-based information in the long run. We have books from thousands of years ago still available. Nobody knows how long the best digital medium will last, but we have already seen how durable paper can be.
Classics are survived hundreds of years. Of course, it was reprinted and stored in multiple places, but digital information nowadays is too tied to its format. For example, what will this blog look like in 20-30-40 years?
I try to use open standards when it comes to archive things, but still, sometimes it’s not enough. I lost the early music I made, photos, and blog posts (although I found some on archive.org) because I wasn’t paying attention to back them up, or it was easy to delete them accidentally.
Meanwhile, stuff I printed years ago is still okay. My parents even have old family photos, which are existing since at least I was born 35 years ago.
Paper can be a long-standing format to store information (or at least be a tertiary backup) if we don’t use it actively. Almost all digital storage formats are rotting away quickly (except some forms of optical media and tape), which means that we, a computer, or time will corrupt them. On top of that, we can accidentally delete anything from it, or ransomware could encrypt it, so we have to back them up. I use optical disks (more precisely 25 GB archival grade BD-R discs) to archive information because it’s made for cold storage. However, I still have to keep a reader around, which is an already a fading technology.
On the other hand, paper is a simple, free-form medium that can store limited types of information. I can print text and photos on it, and that’s it. If I want to keep it long-term, I can store it inside hanging folders or simple boxes which protect and organize it.
Sure, it can be damaged, but any other digital storage can be. If we take good care of it, it can give us a nice warm feeling when we stumble into an old notebook or a photo.