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There is the issue of authenticity. The individual printing out the record often has a certain level of control over how that document is printed: fields or text can be removed from the printed version even if they remain in the digital original. Printing from spreadsheets usually results in the paper copy having only values and calculated data, not the formulas, or comments. This means that a paper document cannot necessarily be trusted as a full and complete equivalent of a digital record. Yet many people will allow the digital original to be deleted, or get lost, after the paper copy has been created. This may not be an issue for your home computer, but it may well be an issue in an organisation where different members of staff are printing different things.

How do you access paper? – need a supervised searchroom, really, with all the costs that entails. And BS5454 storage. Digital preservation is actually cheaper than paper, if properly handled.

Digital records have a feature not present in paper ones, namely behaviour. A paper document is a fixed item, but digital documents are sometimes interactive, and for some of these the behaviour is an essential part of the meaning. Spreadsheets are a good example.

Also, for some organisations there is a legal aspect. If the original document is digital, then it has to be preserved digitally.

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