I want to know which medium you think is better for reading articles, paper or tablets?

Pros of paper:

  1. I can simultaneously take a look at a figure and the text in the article explaining the figure. I also can take a look at two different parts of the article at the same time and compare the text.

  2. It feels more comfortable.

  3. I feel the blue light of the tablet or laptop might interfere with my sleeping patterns if I read the article just before going to bed. This might not be a problem for the majority.

  4. It is easier to show the article to someone else and discuss about the article.

Cons of paper:

  1. The number of printed articles eventually increases. I might lose them for this reason!

  2. I cannot search text or cannot use digital library to organize them.Thus if I want to come back to a paper later finding it will be difficult.

  3. I would like to have all of my papers with me.

  4. Highlighting the text is easier in a laptop or a tablet.

I am thinking that I might not need to keep all the articles I read forever. If I take a summary from the article I read it might be enough and I won't come back to the majority of the articles I read. The biggest advantage of a tablet is having the articles always and the ability to search the text in the articles.

I am thinking that it is better to read the article on paper and then have the electronic copy in my digital library alongside of the notes taken.

Is there any other reason based which reading articles on paper is superior or inferior than reading them on a laptop?

  • This question does sound unrelated to the scope of this community... – Roboticist Jan 4 '16 at 14:53
  • Related, possibly duplicate: academia.stackexchange.com/questions/8410/… – posdef Jan 4 '16 at 14:58
  • I'm not sure about Android devices, but in an iPad, you can use LiquidText to read different part of a document at a same time, and f.lux to eliminate the blue light emitting from the screen (jailbreak required) – Ooker Jan 4 '16 at 15:00
  • @Matinking reading papers is definitely something important in Academia. But I don't think you can get an objective answer. In the end, some people just don't like tablet-reading. – Emilie Jan 4 '16 at 15:02

The choice will be based on personnal preferences. Your question, however, is about other reasons for choosing one or the other. Here's another (big) one for me.

Ecological reasons: printing is using paper. Sure, if the article is highly relevant to what you do and you read it frequently, it is useful for a longer time.

I would also like to say that your first con of paper is only relevant for unorganized people. If you design a filing system that fit your needs, you won't lose papers. I personally give article I print (a subset of what I read) an ID. I record the ID into my library (Endnote) and write it on the top of the article. Papers are classed in order in a binder. Sounds like I'm obsessive, but it works!

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