Reasons for digitising letters

I’ve scanned all the As, Bs and Cs now and am beginning to appreciate just how much correspondence can build up over a period of thirty or forty years. It’s especially noticeable when it’s not in uniform paper sizes which can just go through the scanner’s sheet feeder; but instead is a variety of different sized cards and writing paper which have to be scanned individually. With such a volume of material, I think it unlikely that I will ever reread all of it in detail again – though I guess if it was on a tablet I might dip into some of it from time to time. Certainly, having it easily available in digital form for reference purposes (to establish dates, events and places), could be very useful – but probably only to me as the recipient. I feel it unlikely that anyone else would have any interest in it. Indeed, I think it’s probably true to say that even I probably won’t experience the feelings I had when I first received and read these missives because I personally have changed in the interim and so has the context in which the letters were written and read. So, now they can only be re-read from a new perspective which includes one’s own current situation and present relationship with the sender. Despite these rather subtle points, its undoubtedly true that the letters all stimulate precious memories and feelings, and so it’s reassuring to know that I will have the digital versions after I have torn up the physical documents and taken them out with the recycling. I firmly believe that scanning and destroying this material is definitely the right thing to do for following reasons: first because the digital version is likely to get used much more than the hardcopy; second, because it reduces the clutter in the loft; and third, because it will be one (physical) thing less to deal with by those who have to clear up after me when I die.

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