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Is It Time For Digital Albums?

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Posted 05/02/2021   7:24 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add rogdcam to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
This topic regarding splitting the Scott US Specialized Catalog into two parts went into the topic of digital vs hardcopy catalogs:

https://www.stampcommunity.org/topi...&whichpage=1

Some great points were made, in particular about the "green" aspect of digital in lieu of paper.

So should the same principles apply to our albums? Digital albums instead of tree killing, chemical using, environmentally negative paper albums pieced together with vinyl and steel components and usually discarded or replaced at some point.

You could of course own your stamps but display their images instead of them. You could display the backs as well next to the design side. You could zoom in on details and change the draperies when you need a new esthetic.

I dare say that a full set of International's is just as or more wasteful then a set of Scott catalogs when it comes down to it.

No issues with acidic paper and degradation, mold and mildew, plastic mounts etc..

All of those old albums could be removed from the waste stream.

Digital catalogs and digital albums.

What say you?

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Posted 05/02/2021   8:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add classic_paper to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
You could of course own your stamps but display their images instead of them.

Own them, and keep them where… in stock books? Don't stock books mean… paper?

I think you vastly overestimate the amount of paper used in this hobby, relatively speaking. Want to make a dent? Get rid of junk mail, phone books, and newspapers.
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Posted 05/02/2021   8:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add PostmasterGS to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
My website is basically a digital album of my collection. It gives me a lot more room to work with and allows me to include links to related sets, etc. BUT...

It just ain't the same. For the longest time, I didn't keep physical albums because of the weight -- I move a lot for work. The stamps are considerably better presented on a physical page that is a fixed size. If you were making a digital album that was presented as a fixed-size, static image, it would probably work.

If you go the webpage route like I have, it forces you to accommodate different devices, resolutions, screen sizes, etc., and it makes it virtually impossible to get a nice, clean presentation across-the-board. You can make a really fantastic webpage that mimics the layout of a beautiful album page, and all it takes to blow it up is rotating your screen. To keep is presentable and responsive, you just can't make it as fancy as a nice physical album page.
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Presenting the GermanStamps.net Collection - Germany, Colonies, & Occupied Territories, 1872-1945
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Posted 05/02/2021   9:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Coastwatcher to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Absolutely not!
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Posted 05/02/2021   9:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add DrewM to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Paper is a renewable resource. Like corn, wheat, oranges, flowers, and cattle, trees are planted, grown, and harvested to be made into paper. Then new trees are planted, and the cycle continues. We are not cutting down old growth trees much anymore. It's a very common misunderstanding to think that paper comes from old trees we should save. Not true. Forests planted to be turned into paper pulp are not even very attractive. Every single tree is the same age and the same size. You probably wouldn't even enjoy walking through that kind of forest. So, other than whatever harm manufacturing paper does (air pollution maybe?), there is no major environmental reason not to use paper. Saving trees or paper, a completely renewable resource, would be like saving corn stalks. Want more corn? Plant some.

As for steel, a great deal (and maybe nearly all) the steel used in the U.S. today is made from older recycled steel. Iron mines are a very small contributor to steel. Iron/steel is not like coal which gets burned up and then must be replaced. You can't "recycle" coal, but we recycle steel all the time.

As for plastic, that's another issue, and I hope we can cut down on its use and find other alternatives since it is, in fact, harmful to the environment. I don't think you can recycle plastic, but maybe someday someone will figure out how to do that, too. There are amoeba that consume plastic. Imagine that.

As for digital albums containing digital stamps, that seems like having a digital art collection or maybe even digital pets or friends. People who enjoy objects themselves like artwork, antiques, paper books, living plants, are not really going to be satisfied with digital versions of them by which I assume you mean "pictures" of them. I have a picture book of photos of China but I guarantee you it's not even close to actually going there. So, no, I don't think digital albums will appeal to most collectors. That's different, however, from digitizing your paper stamps which are mounted on paper pages. Some collectors do that, too, and so that seems like one alternative. But you'd have both versions, the "real" and the . . . . well, "fake" I guess you'd call it. Maybe I'll get a digital dog to have around the house. I'll call her "Alexa" and I'm sure we'll become good friends. That way I'd have less dog hair to clean up. "Woof woof!"
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Edited by DrewM - 05/02/2021 9:55 pm
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Posted 05/02/2021   10:17 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Two points to make. One is that recycling paper still relies mostly on fossil fuels. The second is that the recycling rate for steel is currently 47%. Again, the process relies heavily on fossil fuels. A classic case of not seeing the forest for the trees (sorry).
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Posted 05/03/2021   08:30 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Lou to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm keeping my albums, thank you!
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Posted 05/03/2021   10:21 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Coastwatcher to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Rodgcam, 81% of the electricity generated in the US is done by using fossil fuels. I can work on and look at my paper albums with my computer, tablet and scanner turned off. Either way you go, some amount of fossil fuel energy will be expended.
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Posted 05/03/2021   10:31 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add PMStamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I'm not sure I understand what the point of all of this is! What happens to all of the original stamps that are being scanned and digitized? Do you throw them all into one big envelope or multiple envelopes depending on country? Maybe less paper, but still paper.
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Posted 05/03/2021   11:23 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Climber Steve to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Drew M. : "I don't think you can recycle plastic." Depends on where one lives & if there is a market. Soda and water bottles are accepted at my city's recycling center. Those are re-purposed into such things as fleece jackets. Paper is also recyclable there.

Coastwatcher: "I can work on and look at my paper albums with my computer, tablet, and scanner turned off." Again, it depends on where one lives. I get 100% of my electricity from Xcel Energy's Windsource program. The Intermountain West is a great place for both wind and solar power. Smart farmers and ranchers on the plains of eastern Colorado have wind turbines on their property, to take advantage of downsloping winds off the mountains. Some make more money from those turbines than they do from agriculture.
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Edited by Climber Steve - 05/03/2021 11:27 am
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Posted 05/03/2021   11:37 am  Show Profile Check docgfd's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add docgfd to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
N.E.D. !!!!!!!!*





*Not Even Drunk !!!!!!!!


Edited to add: How long before repeated scanning by various owners down the line causes fading of the stamp's colors due to the scanner light?
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Edited by docgfd - 05/03/2021 11:40 am
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Posted 05/03/2021   2:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rgstamp to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Perhaps expand discussion to Non fungible tokens
NFTs

If I own inverted Jenny, can I auction off NFT that goes with it
Or do I throw stamp away and own the NFT in my digital album

Confusing
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Posted 05/03/2021   4:20 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The genesis of this topic was the topic I linked to which raised the possibility of doing away with paper catalogs. There was little if any pushback and so I thought "why not go further with the same idea?".

Instead of interest in the idea though there is quite a bit of advocating for keeping paper albums with much discussion as to why they are not really that environmentally unfriendly. Interesting to me.

As has been noted above it is very hard if not impossible to get away from fossil fuels. They are intertwined in everything. You could say that they are key to our civilization. How green is green and is what you think is green really that green?
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Posted 05/03/2021   6:53 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Although I will not get rid of my albums, I think this is a great topic for discussion. It would be a paradigm shift, though, and teaching an old dog a new trick is never easy. Having said that, I think this is a great idea for some collectors. Because it is such a different creature than 'traditional' stamp collecting, I can only imagine (AND, I am willing to bet a lot of money that I cannot even imagine some...) the things that could be done in this new realm of philately!

I cannot cite #'s (as I suspect anyone else here), but I would be more than willing to bet that the electricity used to view a virtual album is significantly less than the energy that goes into manufacturing a new paper album, not to mention the energy used to transport the final product to the customer. At the other end of the consumer experience, it would probably use more energy to send the albums to the recycler, and to actually recycle them than to hit the 'delete' button on a virtual album. I am oversimplifying, I am sure, but I think the point is valid. In the bigger societal picture, stamp collecting is about the tiniest blip imaginable on the carbon-abuse scale. Again, no numbers, but we stamp collectors are a LOT less important in the big picture than many of us think. We are the Inverted Jennies of society - sure, we are out there and most everybody is aware of us, but for the Average Joe our activity has little impact on their lives.
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Edited by mootermutt987 - 05/03/2021 6:57 pm
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Posted 05/03/2021   8:01 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I think that the term 'digital album' is a bit of a loaded phase; sure to raise the hackles of Luddites and some others. In my opinion it causes unnecessary heartburn by approaching the confluence of our hobby and technology from a perspective which has a dependency upon misunderstandings and/or lack of technology experience.

In many ways this forum is a type of digital album and frankly virtually any interface can become a digital album if it can display images and text.

For years I have made and archived high-resolution images of my stamps and covers in my specialty collections (i.e. for insurance reasons, for inventory reasons, etc.) so I already have a foundation for a 'digital album'. Obviously, it is not feasible for me to scan my 18 volume Big Blue 'fun' collection or some of my other lower value material. But I am quite sure that everyone here has made images of at least some of their material. Obviously, images of the stamps or covers are a foundation component of any digital album; but what about the page layout and other design elements?

For me I do not really care about the page layout and other design elements (i.e. displaying them in a Word doc, Power Point, or a browser); in my opinion these kinds of interfaces are constantly evolving. Back in the 1990s I got tired of chasing the ever-changing desktop operating systems and applications. If I built nice page designs and added images of my stamps and covers to Word Perfect or some other application that was running on Windows 3.1 in 1992, what good would it be now? Doh. Sure, I could have played the 'upgrade' game and paid money every 15 months as the operating systems and application changed…no thanks.

In my opinion the other important foundational piece of a 'digital album' is the SQL platform. A SQL database can hold images (or paths to images) and text but most importantly they are largely immune to the constantly changing and evolution of operating systems and applications. By having my images and philatelic information stored in a SQL database I can easily configure and connect almost any desktop application to them. So I have not painted myself into a corner where I have to buy upgrades to operating systems or desktop apps year after year to preserve my 'digital album'. No chasing technology, no matter how the digital world changes I know that I have foundation that will enable to reuse the work I have already invested heavily in.

For myself the 'time for digital albums' was about 15 years ago when I started making images and using SQL. To this day I still use work I did back in 2006; whether it is for Stamp Smarter, for posting in this community, for writing articles, or any other time I need to recall any of my archived philatelic information.
Don
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Posted 05/03/2021   10:21 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I understand your point, Don, about not wanting to 'commit' to an album design knowing full well that the tech will change in a matter of months and your hard work may become obsolete. Also, your point about not scanning all the 25-centers in your Big Blues is well taken. I am in your camp on both issues.

Some people, however, like change. The enjoy the new possibilities that new tech may bring. They like being 'forced' into doing something else because their platform is getting upgraded/obsoleted. I had a conversation with my boss last week about cars. We are both 59 years old. He asked me how many cars I've had and I said I had 4 in my life. He just about fell over dead. I buy (what I think are) decent cars and drive them til they die. I have been driving my current car for 12 years, and it has many years left in it (or so I hope). On the other hand, he's had upwards of 20 cars (at which point ***I*** nearly fell over dead) because he likes tinkering on cars. He also said that he gets 'tired' of driving the same thing year in and year out. He likes a 'new' (different, used) car every couple of years. Like I said, some people simply like change. Change, for the sake of change. I think it adds an awful lot of complication to one's life, but to each his own.
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