(redirected from documentations)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal.


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


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.


(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.


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.


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)