Category Archives: History of the Paperless Office

General:History of the Paperless Office

To assist the reader of the blog the history of the Paperless Office has been separated into three sections.

  • General History
  • Technology History
  • Combined General and Technology

 Below is a brief general history of time in relation of the noticeable dates which have been recorded within the social media. Although these are not specific events or even miles stones event, just dates where the business and social community have released their concerns for the intension of the Paperless office systems covering the years form 1975 to 2009.

 The idea of the paperless office was introduced in the year of 1975, Little, Office of the Future (1975),generally stating that all office will be paperless, but it was not until May 1993, Markoff (1993); when a large software corporation i.e. Microsoft started to introduce software developments for the issues of a paperless office.

1993 to 2002 indicates a possible link from how new technology software development could have been introduced to the possible social effects it has on the society and how if any could it be a reality in the real world.

Various reports have indicated form the year 2000 to 2003 papers as a product is booming and the business and paper systems have increased ten fold within its request for demand. Brooke (2001); reporting that the printing industry is booming.

Reading the various article and reports this is mainly due to the economic up turn as the country is in the middle of a boom. If the boom has taken off at such a rate the system will be trying to keep up with the demand and the last thing the software developers will want to be doing is to design and initiate a software programme which will be against the grain at the time of the economic boom.

This may be one of the reasons why there has been a gap for thirteen years due to not having the time or found that this is a concern regarding the idea of a paperless office.

Why would anybody try to improve something according to the business circles and large corporations which where not really required? .The green issues at this time where certainly in our minds but in the scale of the whole green and environment concerns this small area was nothing to talk about, so to a certain degree nobody was interested to pursuit the matter to the next level.

It has become clear that from all the readings and at this stage that this whole area has been a white wash of ideas placed into a washing machine, bit of the experience with large software company a bit of experience form the web and internet and a bit of new and fancy  programme writing all with an open cheque book and we hoped for the best to see if we could find a solutions that could answer all our problems, knowing what the answer is a miss mash of ideas that are not fully expectable if we really want to take this system to the next level.

It is also interesting to view that in all the social media there is no mention of a positive quote or acknowledgments of any green party or organisation taking this matter with the possible concerns that it desires.

We have looked at the general history of the Paperless Officethis has covered from the years 1975 to 2009 but to evaluate the history in greater depth we must now look at the Technology side of the history of the Paperless Office.


Technology:History of the Paperless Office

The second section covers the area of Technology and how this may have changed the future of the Paperless Office.

Below is a brief general history of time in relation of the noticeable dates which have been recorded within the social media. Although these are not specific events, or even miles stones event, just dates where the business and social community have released their concerns for the intension of the Paperless office systems covering the years form 1970 to 2009.

The first real concern, Landau (1979); was that the paperless office may have problems was recorded in 1979, this is approximately 5 years after it was a pipe dream this was mentioned by an information technology expert from America.

It’s also interesting to read that in 1980, Freeman (1980) Miss Salvage quoted, “that having the wealth of technology the people to implement this wealth but really understand how to implement this knowledge to create a paperless society or office environment”.

 1982 is this the first commercial advertisement requesting to employ a member of staff to introduce a paperless office system could this mean that the potential paperless system has reached a so called domestic situation with having to contact the outside world for help. Could this be the first company that is trying to design possible computer systems?

 In 1989,Cuncliffe (1989); Wang Centre for Imaging Technology will be to provide a $4 million paperless office system for Manitoba could this be a one of the earliest largest investments with investing 4 million pounds into a paper less system.

1990 has mentioned that the term of a Paper less office is now more acceptable than the terminology of “electronic office” and “document less office… It also interesting to read, that Xerox is betting that the office of the future will not be paperless. Which is quite strange, because now Xerox is one of the leading companies that are leading the technology into the future?

1994 and a piece of technology has been mentioned with connection to the paperless office this is a single page paper scanner which can scan a piece of paper and the information, can be connected to the main system and therefore making the piece of paper not required.

Hoch (2004) Ricoh, Silicon Valley in 2004, mention that they have produced a new system, which has taken 5 years to develop paperless system for the small and medium sized business which included major concerns regarding storage platform, although the general findings where seemed to be a joke with regards to the overall progression of the paperless office.

2006 – Farguhar (2006) NHS Mental Health Trust, Mersey Care have introduced a major paper less office system to there storage and office system, although there has been no future reports to see if the system has worked and no further reports to indicate how the system has performed.

In the year 2009 the general concerns are that we are still stating that the paperless office is still a pipe dream and it will not happen.

To conclude the history of the Paperless Office the Author has combined both the general and technology findings together complete with a time graph indicating the most popular time phases.

History of The Paperless Office (Combined)

Combined History

Both the sections cover a period of approximately 34 years where the paperless office has been mentioned this has indicated that it has been quite dormant over that 34 year period there has been certainly been major ups and downs over the years.

On a closer examination the most noticeable area is that it is more to do with the increasing rate of technology that has increased over the years and not the paperless office idea that has increased or developed in time.

The book Harper and Sellen (2002); The myths of the Paperless Office from Surrey University was a major stepping stone in the right direction not as a technology step or even a break through it covered an area which has not be covered by anybody else the possible area of social behavior towards a piece of paper.

It looked at the view of a piece of paper and not computer system how we read the piece of paper and how we react to it and how we socially behavior towards its everyday use.

This was major step in tying to understand how the paperless office could interact with the user.

The technology of the paperless office in real terms has gone nowhere to the degree of that all it has done is carried itself with the technology race as a whole and it has not taken a certain direction weather this was to the right left or even centre it has just stayed in a dormant state.

An other indices within the history is that the technology aspect and the development seems to be very precarious to the degree that it can not seem to bottom it self out and obtain a straight to steady line if the technology did find a true path it would find that the rest of the technology would follow this is not happing with this system.

To understand and to make things easier a time Graph has been developed this is indicated which century have been the most popular.

History of the Paperless Office (Time Graph)

The purpose of the time graph is to give the reading of the report a clear indication to which century form the history findings has been the most popular. The four different centauries have been divided into 1970’s, 1980’s, 1990 and the year 2000.

  1. 1970
  2. 1980
  3. 1990
  4. 2000

The graph is not a factual representation indicating to how many items an article has been mentioned within the social media but a percentage indication to see which century has been the busiest.

The information clearly indicates that the 1990’s, has the most acknowledgement, within the social medial, followed, by the century of 2000 this is no surprise time as passed and technology has grown.    

We now understand that the 1990s was the most popular century with regards to the paperless office concept. This has established that the concept was the busiest, especially when the economy was booming and investment was possible.

Once this has been established we can now move to what is and what can affect the concept of the Paperless Office this will start with the Cultural and Sociability aspects of the Paperless Office.