Re: What is a document?

Subject: Re: What is a document?
From: Heidi Martin <hcmartin -at- MCMS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 1999 12:58:13 -0700

Steve Anderson said:
>>Two things I feel a document must do:
>> 1. It must transfer information from the creator of the document to
>>the reader.
>> 2. It must be storable (whether physically or electronically).
>>Of course, creator and reader are bad word choices, and "It must be
>>storable" is a weak phrase. Radio programs, credit cards, and movies all
>>meet these requirements, too. Are they documents? Perhaps someone can come
>>up with another thing a document must do that will narrow the scope.
>In order to "narrow the scope" of Steve's proposal of the two things a
>document must do, I would need to change the first requirement to something
>"It must be formatted, worded, and presented in a manner that the format is
>readable and the content is understandable by the target audience."
>This statement implies a couple of things:
>1. There is a target audience. Good documents are written with a specific
>audience in mind, whether that audience is the user of a software product, an
>operator of a machine, or a novice VCR programmer. I'm not trying to
>over-simplify here: I know the potential audiences for our work can be quite
>varied, but the writer should have a good idea of the type of audience s/he
>is writing for.
>2. The document is written. Because I say it must be formatted and worded,
>I am purposefully implying that a document is "written" and "readable" by a
>human as opposed to a machine.
>Adding that statement *should* narrow the scope enough to exclude things such
>as radio programs, credit cards, and movies, yet still be encompassing enough
>to include the variety of media we all use and create on a daily basis. To
>me, documents are not defined by their media or method of storage, but by
>their intent to convey specific information to a specific audience.
>What do you all think?
>Heidi Martin
>Tech Comm Supervisor
>MCMS, Inc.
>Nampa, ID
>hcmartin -at- mcms -dot- com

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