Printed Almanacs, What’s the Point?

todaySeptember 17, 2020 31

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By Tiger Shi
Web Content Contributor

We all know that feeling. Whether it was a memorable Super Bowl game, a tense presidential election or an award-winning movie …it always went down in history. There are physical books which kept records of such events, those books are known as almanacs. However, I have an unpopular opinion about them. I just don’t see the point of printing them when the digital age has overwhelmed print and now has become a dying source of obtaining information.

Generation Z (Zoomers) and the millennial generation grew up on technology. Technological advancements have been made ever since the invention of the Internet in the 1990s. We went from AOL to smart devices in the last two decades.

People are getting information, such as news, as soon as possible. However, physical copies of almanacs are still being printed as we speak. I see it as a waste of paper in my opinion.

The digital age will become the new almanac. Image by Tiger Shi

I own two separate almanacs: one from 2012 and the other from 2014. I got them initially for a geography class assignment, where we had to look up data from different countries.

This brings me to my point in terms of statistics. Numbers for countries’ populations, GDP, etc. are always changing. It makes sense to keep updating them for almanacs annually; although, it doesn’t make sense to print physical records when we already have a digital database to store that information: the Internet.

I took a personal interest in almanacs when I watched the Back to the Future series. The almanac Marty McFly purchased motivated me to get a copy. Over time, the book just sat on my bookshelf gathering dust.

Not only does the information become outdated but the relevancy of almanacs die as well. For example, the South Korean song Gangnam Style may be trendy for its time being but it lost momentum eventually when the world accepted it into mainstream music.

Back to the Future was about time-traveling. Almanacs capture moments in time for record-keeping and are a permanent archive. Since we have the internet now, we could access those moments faster. On a side note, one simply can’t “lose” the internet while you can lose physical copies of almanacs. I am not an expert in science but if time-travel is realistically possible, there could be potentially a “Biff Tannen” who would ruin the future as he did in the movie.

My “war” against almanacs is also reflected in the fact that Generation Z is less likely to read old-fashioned print. I am not entirely against the concept of almanacs itself but rather against the way they’re distributed to spread the word about the world’s events. I think keeping records of events over the years is awesome because that way we all can dedicate a throwback to them in the future.

Despite this, we must adapt to new ways of accessing almanacs because as technology evolves, so should our consistency in distributing information.

I am not entirely “anti-almanac.” I am in favor of “reforming” them by changing what we put in them, as well as updating how we can let the world look back on certain events but in easier ways. As great as almanacs already are, I think it is better if we make it completely digital.

Feature Image by Tiger Shi.

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