recommendations for public webstation printers

Kevin C. Marsh iai at
Wed Mar 6 14:46:05 EST 1996

David Ritchie wrote:

>Let me make the following radical proposal.  
>Provide **no** printers at public webstations.  
>Instead, provide the Adobe Acrobat PDFwriter and floppy disks to which users
>of public webstations can "print" (in PDF format) via the usual web browser
>print capability.
>In addition, arrange with Adobe (this will not take much) to provide the free
>Adobe Acrobat Reader program on a disk that individuals may take away with
>them to install and use on their home computer.
>In this way, you will be doing the users a favor in not letting their
>information suffer the heat death of getting transformed onto paper media.
> You will also, I believe, save on consumables.   And finally, if the users
>really do want to print the stuff on paper, they can do it on their home
>computer where they stand the entire cost.
>Isn't this the right way to go?  Isn't this the direction we are all heading?
> Isn't it important to encourage users to go this direction too?

Um, would you believe NO, NO, and NO!

One of the best reasons for public Web terminals is that the users DON"T
HAVE HOME MACHINES!  (Does everyone in your community have a home computer?
Where exactly is this?) 

Saving to disk is certainly a valuable option for some users, although I
don't see why you would want to convert perfectly good text, html, gifs,
etc. into PDF.  But this doesn't eliminate the need for printing capability.
I personally am more likely to bookmark than save and to save than print,
but I wouldn't give up having that printer available when I need it.

Kevin C. Marsh, Executive Director
Information Access Institute
KMarsh at

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