Do You Need to Read That Document on Paper?

First let me say that I really like reading on screen for business purposes.  Second, let me contradict that by complaining about my aged eyes and how I keep pulling my monitors closer to my face. Third, let me tell you how much I enjoy reading novels in print when that is a viable alternative (not traveling, my public library has a print copy without waiting for an inter-library loan). Fourthly, let me give a hat tip to John DiGilio who noted a post on that inspired Today’s Tip.

Scientific American looked at some studies comparing paper vs. screen reading and concluded that “when it comes to intensively reading long pieces of plain text, paper and ink may still have the advantage.”

My take on paper vs. screen when doing legal research is totally unscientific.  When skimming through research results I like to use the navigation of seeing my terms highlighted, changing the sort order of results and quickly jumping past irrelevant hits to the next document.  When digesting the now selected content, if documents are long, I sometimes choose to print and read from paper.

Today’s Tip: be aware of how you interact with text and make conscious decisions about how you need to work.


  1. Interestingly, I just read this article this morning from The New Yorker: I don’t know if it cites the study you read, but the tips are helpful so that the reader can recognize that they may be missing something just from the type of media they’re using.

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