by Gautam Shah ➔
A document is a self sufficient or a unique collection of specific information or structured data, which can be stored, retrieved or communicated. Any such lot, when referred to, provides the intended information.
Documents have many different formats depending on what they carry, and how these are to be stored, retrieved or communicated. Traditional documents, in written, pictorial or graphical form, are the most common units of communication.
A document serves many different purposes, it describes, defines, specifies, reports or certifies activities, lists the requirements for performing activities or mentions results of activities.
Letters, reports drawings, specifications, procedures, instructions, records, radio-graphs, computer tapes and disks, purchase orders, invoices, process control charts, films, microfilms, photograph etc., are all examples of documents.
When information manifests as data, a document comes into being. A document carries many identifiers such as:
- time (of origin)
- size (of storage, transmission time & effort)
- place of origin
- place of a destination
- embedded codes
- signs, symbols
- mode of communication
- extent of exposure
- limits and conditions of relevance
- It is through these type of identities that a document begins to be relevant or worthy of access.
In modern terminology, information lots or documents are called Files, because it helps in identifying the contents. A filed information or data lot has: a title, a list of contents, description of contents and the mass of contents. Additionally it occupies a space, so size and the birth context (date/ time/ location/ other circumstances of origin). Beyond these primary endowments, a file may be given many levels of attachments (references).
A Simple data file may contain several sub entities, each of which may be allocated a specific physical space. A complex file may have varied or standard size of pre-set space allocations. Alternatively a Start and/or End marker (fixed or floating) may separate file partitions. Filters decide which of the entities are to be allocated a free or variable space. Data entities are invariably accompanied by their titles or identifiers.
Data entities in a file remain static or are changeable. Conditions that cause a data to remain static or be variable could be external or are internal. The internal conditioners, titles and filters are inseparable parts of information files. In Static files, the structure remains unaltered even while data entities are changed. The meaning deriving out of the file, however, may change. In Dynamic files the structure of the file gets altered along with the change in data entities. Static files are easy to process, but cannot provide qualitative information. Static files usually contain data that is mathematical or substantially logical. Dynamic files are difficult to process and provide little quantitative information. Dynamic files contain data that is generally textual or metaphoric.