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A document is a written information resource and that contains a discourse.



  • (Wikipedia, 2015) ⇒ Retrieved:2015-1-16.
    • A document is a written, drawn, presented or recorded representation of thoughts. Originating from the Latin Documentum meaning lesson - the verb doceō means to teach, and is pronounced similarly, in the past it was usually used as a term for a written proof used as evidence. In the computer age, a document is usually used to describe a primarily textual file, along with its structure and design, such as fonts, colors and additional images.

      The modern term 'document' can no longer be defined by its transmission medium (such as paper), following the existence of electronic documents. 'Documentation' has more meanings than a written or drawn presentation of thoughts.

      The formal term 'document' is defined in Library and information science and in documentation science, as a basic theoretical construct. It is everything which may be preserved or represented in order to serve as evidence for some purpose. The classical 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." (Quoted from Buckland, 1998 [1]). (This view has been seen as an early expression of what now is known as actor–network theory).

  1. Buckland, M. (1998). What is a digital document? In: Document Numérique (Paris) 2(2),


    • An original or official paper relied upon as the basis, proof, or support of anything else, including any writing, book, or other instrument conveying information pertinent to such proof or support. Any material substance on which the thoughts of men are represented by any species of conventional mark or symbol.

  • (Wikipedia, 2009) ⇒
    • … Colloquial usage is revealed by the connotations and denotations that appear in a Web search for document. From these usages, one can infer the following typical connotations:
      • Writing that provides information person's thinking by means of symbolic marks.
      • A written account of ownership or obligation.
      • To record in detail; "The parents documented every step of their child's development".
      • A digital file in a particular format.
      • To support or supply with references; "Can you document your claims?".
      • An artifact that meets a legal notion of document for purposes of discovery in litigation.
    • The variety of usage reveals that the notion of document has rich social and cultural aspects besides the physical, functional and operational aspects.
    • Empirical characterization
    • In light of the polysemy of the core concept of document, it is useful to note a number of examples ranging from instances commonly understood as prototypical documents, to instances that are understood as documents only in specialized or rare situations.
      • Prototypical Documents: Letters, memos, legal forms, Instruction manual
      • Documents of Record: Newspapers and magazines
      • Books: Text book, Novels, Recipe books, Encyclopedia, Comic books
      • Canonical Documents: The Bible,Iliad and Odyssey,Vedas, Ramayana, Mahabharata, Quran, Code of Hammurabi,Tao Te Ching
      • Transactional Documents: Cheque, Contracts, Prescription, Receipt, Form (document), Postage Stamp
      • Functional Documents: PDF files, PostScript files, XML files, Email
      • Non-Prototypical Documents: Post-it notes, Fortune cookie strips, Maps, Paintings, milk cartons, cereal boxes
      • Non-Classical Digital Documents: Web Page, Weblog, Wiki
      • Boundary Examples: The plaque on the Pioneer 11 spacecraft, designed by astronomer Carl Sagan, and using information assumed to be universal is an extreme example of a document that is intended to communicate with aliens. Conversely, the recorded and printed signals of the SETI project would constitute documents if they were discovered to contain alien communication.


  • (Dextre Clarke et al., 2008) ⇒ Stella Dextre Clarke, Alan Gilchrist, Ron Davies and Leonard Will. (2008). “Glossary of Terms Relating to Thesauri and Other Forms of Structured Vocabulary for Information Retrieval." Willpower Information
    • document
      • (use for information resource)
      • item that can be classified or indexed in order that it may be retrieved
      • This definition refers not only to written and printed materials in paper or microform versions (for example, books, journals, diagrams, maps), but also to non-printed media, machine-readable and digitized records, Internet and intranet resources, films, sound recordings, people and organizations as knowledge resources, buildings, sites, monuments, three-dimensional objects or realia; and to collections of such items or parts of such items.----