11. Documents

In modern computer-literate usage, the word “document” has come to mean any named package of text. Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary in 1987 defined “document” as “a writing conveying information,” or even “a material substance (as a coin or stone) having on it a representation of the thoughts of men by means of some conventional mark or symbol.”[1] This could be a letter to Grandma, an electronic mail message, or a contract. As multimedia technology takes over, this definition will probably even include such non-written material as moving pictures and sound recordings. This is a major departure, however, from the word’s original meaning, which as recently as 1964 was defined in Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American ...

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