Successfully completing my class at Carlow without the use of paper brought my attention to this article, The Dream and the Myth of the Paperless City, discussing the benefits and difficulties of Chicago going paperless. A huge unresolved issue involved in the process is the mass of historical records housed in its paper mausoleum: The Illinois State Archives.

Close to us in a former limestone mine near Butler, The Iron Mountain Storage Facility houses 1.7 million square feet of the most environmentally optimal storage for film preservation, valuable historical artifacts, cultural treasures, business documents and medical records in the United States.

One example there is the Corbis

Iron Mountain Entrance

Photo Locker that began with the contents of two steamer trunks that Otto Bettmann took with him as he left Nazi Germany in 1935. The collection has grown and merged with the photo library of United Press International to more than 11 million historical images including the Wright Brothers in flight, Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue and Rosa Parks seated in the front of the bus.

Moving forward in our paperless world we are not only challenged to preserve the significant original objects of the 20th Century, but consider the longevity of the 21st century objects we no longer create.

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