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The Role of Paper in a Wired World

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For years, the idea of the “paperless office” put forth by “futurists” a decade or so ago has been laughed at in the computer printer industry, which has watched gleefully as office and consumer paper consumption soared year after year. But the advent of the Internet means that the paperless, or at least less-paper office, and perhaps lesspaper home, is no longer a joke. The Internet has changed the role of paper: it once was the document, but has become only a transient display medium for the document, which is now a computer file, email, or Web site. Even though paper consumption continues to rise, research shows that many, even most documents that cross a person's desk are no longer printed. And, as computer design and display technology improve, that percentage can only rise. At the same time, a horde of “dot-coms” are spending billions to automate processes in every industry that have long depended on inefficient paper-shuffling. In short, a paper-based culture that has lasted hundreds of years is under assault, an assault that will certainly affect the market for computer printers and printing.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2000

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  • For more than 30 years, IS&T's series of digital printing conferences have been the leading forum for discussion of advances and new directions in 2D and 3D printing technologies. A comprehensive, industry-wide conference that brings together industry and academia, this meeting includes all aspects of the hardware, materials, software, images, and applications associated with digital printing systems?particularly those involved with additive manufacturing and fabrication?including bio-printing, printed electronics, page-wide, drop-on-demand, desktop and continuous ink jet, toner-based systems, and production digital printing, as well as the engineering capability, optimization, and science involved in these fields. In 2016, the conference changed its name formally to Printing for Fabrication to better reflect the content of the meeting and the evolving technology of printing.

    Please note: For purposes of its Digital Library content, IS&T defines Open Access as papers that will be downloadable in their entirety for free in perpetuity. Copyright restrictions on papers vary; see individual paper for details.

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