A document is a written, drawn, presented, or memorialized representation of thought. The word originates from the Latin documentum, which denotes a "teaching" or "lesson": the verb doceō denotes "to teach". In the past, the word was usually used to denote a written proof useful as evidence of a truth or fact. In the computer age, "document" usually denotes a primarily textual computer file, including its structure and format, e.g. fonts, colors, and images. Contemporarily, "document" is not defined by its transmission medium, e.g., paper, given the existence of electronic documents. "Documentation" is distinct because it has more denotations than "document". Documents are also distinguished from "realia", which are three-dimensional objects that would otherwise satisfy the definition of "document" because they memorialize or represent thought; documents are considered more as 2 dimensional representations.
1 Abstract definitions 2 Kinds 3 Drafting 4 History 5 In law 6 See also 7 References 8 Further reading
Abstract definitions The concept of "document" has been defined[by whom?] as "any concrete or symbolic indication, preserved or recorded, for reconstructing or for proving a phenomenon, whether physical or mental." An often cited article concludes that "the evolving notion of document" among Jonathan Priest, Otlet, Briet, Schürmeyer, and the other documentalists increasingly emphasized whatever functioned as a document rather than traditional physical forms of documents. The shift to digital technology would seem to make this distinction even more important. Levy's thoughtful analyses have shown that an emphasis on the technology of digital documents has impeded our understanding of digital documents as documents (e.g., Levy, 1994). A conventional document, such as a mail message or a technical report, exists physically in digital technology as a string of bits, as does everything else in a digital environment. As an object of study, it has been made into a document. It has become physical evidence by those who study it. "Document" is defined in library and information science and documentation science as a fundamental, abstract idea: the word denotes everything that may be represented or memorialized in order to serve as evidence. The classic example provided by Suzanne Briet is an antelope: "An antelope running wild on the plains of Africa should not be considered a document[;] she rules. But if it were to be captured, taken to a zoo and made an object of study, it has been made into a document. It has become physical evidence being used by those who study it. Indeed, scholarly articles written about the antelope are secondary documents, since the antelope itself is the primary document." This opinion has been interpreted as an early expression of actor–network theory. Kinds Documents are sometimes classified as secret, private, or public. They may also be described as drafts or proofs. When a document is copied, the source is denominated the "original". Standards are accepted for specific applications in various fields, e.g.:
Academia: manuscript, thesis, paper, and journal Business: invoice, quote, RFP, proposal, contract, packing slip, manifest, report (detailed and summary), spread sheet, MSDS, waybill, bill of lading (BOL), financial statement, nondisclosure agreement (NDA), mutual nondisclosure agreement (MNDA), and user guide Government, law, and politics: application, brief, certificate, commission, constitutional document, form, gazette, identity document, license, summons, and white paper Media: mock-up and script
Such standard documents can be drafted based on a template.
The page layout of a document is the manner in which information is
graphically arranged in the space of the document, e.g., on a page. If
the appearance of the document is of concern, page layout is generally
the responsibility of a graphic designer.
A birth certificate from 1859
Traditionally, the medium of a document was paper and the information
was applied to it in ink, either by hand writing (to make a
manuscript) or by mechanical process (e.g., a printing press or laser
printer). Today, some short documents also may consist of sheets of
paper stapled together.
Historically, documents were inscribed with ink on papyrus (starting
in ancient Egypt) or parchment; scratched as runes or carved on stone
using a sharp tool, e.g., the
Tablets of Stone
Monitor of a desktop computer, laptop, tablet PC, et cetera;
optionally with a printer to produce a hard copy;
Personal digital assistant
Digital documents usually require a specific file format in order to
be presentable in a specific medium.
Documents in all forms frequently serve as material evidence in
criminal and civil proceedings. The forensic analysis of such a
document is within the scope of questioned document examination. For
the purpose of cataloging and managing the large number of documents
that may be produced during litigation,
Archive Book Documentation History of the book Realia (library science)
^ Briet. 1951. 7. Quoted in Buckland, 1991.
^ Levy, D. M. "Fixed or Fluid?
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Documents.
Briet, S. (1951). Qu'est-ce que la documentation? Paris: Documentaires
Industrielles et Techniques.
Buckland, M. (1991).