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Printing in the 21st Century – A Proud Industry or an Obsolete Craft?
PARC Forum

4 September 2003
George E. Pake Auditorium

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Convergence, driven by exponential growth in the power of digital technologies, is redefining communications. No communications craft is more threatened by these technological changes than printing. These changes threaten to completely restructure this 500 year old industry and profoundly reduce the economic importance of printing, the technology named the "most important" of the second millennium. This presentation will examine the factors influencing the future of print, the directions that the printing industry is going, the effects on communication in business and society, and propose the document as a paradigm for strategic direction.


Dr. Keith Davidson is a strategy consultant, speaker, and writer. From 1984 until his retirement in 2000, he was President of Xplor International, a worldwide association representing the document systems industry. He was also founder and President of the Electronic Document Systems Foundation, and continues to serve on its Educational Excellence and Scholarship committees.

Keith has been a part of the document systems business since 1974, when he joined Xerox as a part of their effort to develop computer driven laser printers. Before that, his career took him to Mattel, Boise Cascade and the Dow Chemical Company. He has been following computer technology since 1955, when he learned to program and operate automatic card punch equipment at his university research institute.

He is a columnist for Print on Demand magazine and has written extensively about information and management in business and technical magazines including Document Processing Technology, Computerworld, and Forbes. He was a founder and, for ten years, publisher of Xploration Journal. He has spoken at dozens of conferences and meetings in more than 20 countries.

He is an adjunct professor of printing management and science at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He serves on the advisory board for the Graphics Communications Department at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. His doctorate in executive management is from the Peter F. Drucker Center at the Claremont Graduate School.