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1. the furnishing and use of documentary evidence, as in a court of law
2. Computing the written comments, graphical illustrations, flowcharts, manuals, etc., supplied with a program or software system
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Any information that records the prior history of an existing building or site; such as maps, site plans, drawings or photographs, or written historic references as to its physical appearance.
Illustrated Dictionary of Architecture Copyright © 2012, 2002, 1998 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved


(computer science)
The collection, organized and stored, of records that describe the purpose, use, structure, details, and operational requirements of a program, for the purpose of making this information easily accessible to the user.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


The multiple kilograms of macerated, pounded, steamed, bleached, and pressed trees that accompany most modern software or hardware products (see also tree-killer). Hackers seldom read paper documentation and (too) often resist writing it; they prefer theirs to be terse and on-line. A common comment on this predilection is "You can't grep dead trees".

See drool-proof paper, verbiage, treeware.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


The narrative and graphical description of a system. Following are the kinds of documentation required to describe an information system for both users and systems staff. See self-documenting code, technical writer and RTFM.

Operating Procedures

1. Instructions for turning the system on and getting the programs initiated (loaded).

2. Instructions for obtaining source documents for data entry.

3. Instructions for entering data at the terminal, which includes a picture of each screen layout the user will encounter.

4. A description of error messages that can occur and the alternative methods for handling them.

5. A description of the defaults taken in the programs and the instructions for changing them.

6. Instructions for distributing the computer's output, which includes sample pages for each type of report.

System Documentation

1. Data dictionary - Description of the files and databases.

2. System flow chart - Description of the data as it flows from source document to report.

3. Application program documentation - Description of the inputs, processing and outputs for each data entry, query, update and report program in the system.

Technical Documentation

1. File structures and access methods

2. Program flow charts

3. Program source code listings

4. Machine procedures (JCL)
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References in periodicals archive ?
The Documentation Usability Team will likely begin to shift its focus from ushering writers into the process of documentation testing to providing a constant flow of usability information on the MathWorks documentation.
Baseline data were obtained before staff education on the new documentation standards.
We realize that today's ambulatory practices have unique clinical workflows, and these once forced physicians to choose between documentation methods, losing time and efficiency in the process, said Peter Mahoney, senior vice president and general manager, Dragon and clinical documentation, Nuance.
To do so, leaders have to understand the depth of documentation data that is needed to perform the detailed level of coding required.
* At the Winter Park, Fla.-based Adventist Health System, where 18 of 26 hospitals have so far gone live on CPOE, Kshitij Saxena, M.D., medical director, medical informatics, reports that he and his colleagues have actually gone live with physician documentation many months before CPOE.
BluePrint uses the CAD data to automatically create unlimited views, details, and charts of the PCB, and can revise the documentation to reflect new PCB changes, reportedly in seconds.
In our example, Company A in its proposal highlighted the benefits of its documentation module.
CM helps maintain consistency between the products and all relevant documentation. The CM process also documents and limits variances in a given product.
* Auditors should assemble audit documentation within 60 days from the audit report date.
This nonprofessional documentary about journalists presupposes the very distance that guarantees the freedom of documentation as artistic praxis.

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