Seems everyone from the Military to the Government all use paper to make notes, keep records, issue statements. Why do they still use paper, was this on purpose by the shows creators or was there an in-universe reason?

Extension to question, did Galatica or the Colonial fleet have a paper milling factory aboard any where?

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    why do we still use paper?
    – phantom42
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 2:42
  • 1
    Because we can look forward to it still being human readable after 5 to 15 centuries? Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 2:55
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    I agree with @phantom42; this is not surprising at all. Besides, sophisticated record-keeping on computers require networks and... well, over Adama's dead body. (We mostly see record-keeping on-board Galactica itself. I haven't seen any of "Caprica" so I don't know if they show any record-keeping on the Colonies) Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 2:56

1 Answer 1


They don't have anywhere else to record information.

The Galactica, for instance, was not a networked vessel. The only computer systems on board are used strictly for controlling and running the ship. There may be places in the operating systems to store notes and documents, but there's no terminals to display those on.

The same is true of the rest of the ships in the fleet. They're functional, without a lot of displays all over the place to interact with.

Other items may have been available, something like a tablet or smart device, but powering those devices would likely have been an issue. With the limited power sources available, keeping those devices alive may not have been feasible or possible, and that's supposing people had any with them. Salvaging such devices would likely have not been possible, because of the EMPs released by the duodecuple global nukings of the colonies.

I can't recall if a paper mill, specifically, was ever mentioned, but different manufacturing plant vessels were part of the fleet. It stands to reason that, whether or not the paper was in stock already or being made, it was being rationed, like any other supply.

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    It's also worth mentioning that in-universe, the whole series takes place over about two or three years, with one year spent on New Caprica. It's not impossible for Galactica to have enough paper on board to last that long.
    – Joe L.
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 3:30
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    A spin on this answer is that it's a security precaution. If any data in a computer is considered readable by the enemy, then paper copies are a great way to hide information. Plus, maybe they have the technology to re-use the paper, by erasing and re-typing it. Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 17:42
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    Galactica and its Vipers were unaffected by the Cylon virus that shut down defenses of other colonial ships during the first attack precisely because it was an older vessel with outdated technology. Their subsequent reliance on non-networked computers, wired telephones for intra-ship communications, and paper based documents is quite deliberate due to security concerns.
    – Chahk
    Commented Nov 2, 2015 at 18:10
  • As an aside, I thought the "paper" tablets used in Caprica were really, really cool. It looked like an ordinary sheet of shiny paper or plastic, you could roll it up, but it was a computer. Basically the screen off a tablet, but white and you could roll it in a tube.
    – CigarDoug
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 18:32
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    @CigarDoug Our own tech is getting there, with flexible OLED displays and flexible touch sensors. There are prototypes already.
    – user31178
    Commented Jan 30, 2016 at 18:35

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