I like to design things using PDF catalogs since I can then cut & paste my part #s into a purchase requisition.
My maintenance guys would rather have a paper catalog since they don't have internet access. So we keep 6 paper catalogs in the shop and a "specialty" binder full of printouts from online catalogs & the cut-sheets that come with the part.
I think both methods are needed. PDFs have cut down the number of paper catalogs I need to keep, but they won't eliminate them as long as management doesn't trust my maintenance guys enough to give them internet access.
Yes. For the following reasons.
1. They don't disappear when the power goes out.
2. They organize a lot of information in one place that is relatively easy to find, unlike many vendor websites.
3. They can be marked up and referred to later.
4. If the internet is down, they are still on your desk where you can use them.
5. You're not forced to be looking at a computer screen and be tied to your desk for every last thing you try to find.
6. Finding something on the internet can take hours when a printed catalog puts it right in front of you.
7. Many catalogs have built in textbooks, and I find it much more comfortable and rewarding to sit in a chair and read it without looking at a computer screen all day.
I could probably think of a few more reasons, but that's enough for now. I use pdf files extensively and find the internet quite useful for finding things, but nothing will ever take the place of calling someone who knows what their company sells and a printed catalog that organizes masses of information for you and lets you hold the whole thing in your hand. No internet site I know of puts that much information together in a way where I can conveniently refer to any page in it without having to wait for pages to load and go through stupid web pages that don't let me find what I want.