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a material object containing information in a fixed form and especially intended to be transmitted in time and space. The information may be carried on paper, punched cards, photographic film, magnetic tape, or other means. Documents may contain texts (in a natural or formalized language), images, sound-recorded information, or other representations of data. According to their contents, documents can be classified as scientific and technical (articles, books, patents, technical reports, and descriptions), legal (such as regulations, decrees, and treaties), administrative (orders, instructions), and so on.
Documents may be of primary or of secondary nature (such as synopses, abstracts, annotations, or reviews). By the method of their processing, documents can be divided into semantic (translation, review, annotation) and non-semantic (copying, reproduction, microfilming). In information science, means of automated data-processing are developed, using documents stored in a computer’s memory.
The aggregate of documents dealing with a certain question, phenomenon, process, person, institution, and the like is called documentation.
The functioning of contemporary society and the process of production call for the creation and exchange of a great number of documents that are basically textual. The science of documentation deals with classification of documents and definition of the method of their composition and processing. In the USSR, the basic rules for the drafting and processing of documents for the government and public organizations and private persons dealing with these organizations are established by the State Standard (COST).
In a more limited sense, a document is an official paper certifying a certain fact or a title to something. Thus, in law, a document is often understood to be a written act, drafted in a legally prescribed form certifying facts of legal importance (the birth, educational level, or length of professional service of a person). In history scholarship, a document usually is written evidence testifying to certain facts, most often pertaining to the governmental system or public organizations.
REFERENCESMikhailov, A. I., A. I. Chernyi, and R. S. Giliarevskii. Osnovy informatiki, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1968.
Zhukovskaia, O. D., and B. A. Gol’tsev.Dokumentatsiia sovetskikh gosudarstvennykh uchrezhdenii. Moscow, 1970.
Bakharev, V. A., and G. N. Koriakin. Korrespondentsiia i deloproizvodstvo. Moscow, 1971.
Kibernetika i dokumentalistika. Moscow, 1966.
document(1) A printed or handwritten paper used to transact business or make an official statement.
(2) A digital file that is typically created by a word processor or text editor. When Apple introduced the Macintosh in 1984, it called every data file a document no matter which software application was used to create it. The terminology migrated to the Windows environment, which provided a My Documents folder and later just one-word Documents folder as the default storage location for text. See file, template and style sheet.