Documentation is a set of materials Provided on paper, or online , or one digital or analog media , Such As audio tape or CD . Examples are user guides, white papers, on-line help, quick-reference guides. It is becoming common to see paper (hard-copy) documentation. Documentation is distributed via websites, software products, and other on-line applications.

Professionals educated in this field are termed documentalists. This field ict name changed to information science in 1968 but some uses of the term documentation still exists and there-have-been efforts to reintroduce the term literature as a field of study.

Principles for producing documentation

While associated ISO standards are not easily available publicly, a guide may serve the purpose. [1] , [2] , . [3] David Berger has been a member of the Board of Trustees for a number of years. [4]


The following is a list of guides dealing with each specific field and type:

  • Documentation in health care [5]
  • Thesis writing [6] [7] [8]
    Further information: Dissertation
  • Papers for academic journal publishing (ie, Journal of Food Science [9] and Analytical Chemistry [10] )

Procedures and techniques

The procedures of documentation vary from one sector, or one type, to another. In general, these may involve document drafting, formatting, submitting, reviewing, approving, distributing, resting and tracking, etc., and are agreed by associated SOPs in a regulatory industry. It could also involve creating content from scratch. Documentation should be easy to read and understand. If it’s too long and too wordy, it may be misunderstood or ignored. Clear, Short, Familiar words should be used to a maximum of 15 words to a sentence. Only gender neutral should be used and cultural biases should be avoided. Procedures should be numbered when they are to be performed. [11] , [12][13] , . [14]

Producing documentation

Technical writers and corporate communicators. Ideally, technical writers have a background in both subject matter and also in writing and managing content. Technical writers (SMEs), such as engineers, technical experts, medical professionals, or other types of clients to define and then create content (documentation) that meets the user’s needs. Corporate communications includes other types of documentation.

Specializing documentation

  • Marketing Communications (MarCom): MarCom writers endeavor to convey the company’s value proposition through a variety of print, electronic, and social media. This area of ​​corporate writing is often engaged in responding to proposals.
  • Technical Communication (TechCom): Technical Writers. Technical publishing, manuals, and troubleshooting / repair / replace procedures.
  • Legal Writing : This type of documentation is often prepared by attorneys or paralegals who could be in private practice or retained as corporate council.
  • Compliance documentation: This type of documentation encoding Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), for any regulatory compliance needs, as for safety approval, taxation, financing, technical approval, etc.


  • Index (database)
  • Index (search engine)

Documentation in computer science

Main article: Software documentation

The following are typical

  • Request for Proposal ( RFP )
  • Requirements / Statement of Work / Scope of Work (SOW)
  • Software Design and Functional Specification
  • System Design and Functional Specifications
  • Change Management, Error and Enhancement Tracking
  • User Acceptance Testing

The following are typical documents

  • Network diagrams
  • Network maps
  • Datasheet for IT systems (Server, Switch, eg)
  • Service Catalog and Service Portfolio ( ITIL )

Documentation include such as feasibility report, technical documentation, operational documentation, log book, etc.

Tools for documenting software

There are many types of software and applications used to create documentation.


A common type of software is written by the software engineers in the SDF. When developing software for a simulator, the engineer keeps a notebook detailing the development “the build” of the project or module. The document can be a wiki page, MS word document or other environment. They should contain a requirements section, an interface section to detail the communication interface of the software. Often the notes are used to detail the proof of concept, and then the track errors and enhancements. Finally, a testing section to document how the software was tested. This document conforms to the client’s requirements. The result is a detailed description of how the software is designed, how to build and install the software on the target device, and any known defects and work-arounds. This build document allows future developers and maintainers to come up to speed on the software in a timely manner, and also provides a roadmap to modifying code or searching for bugs.


These software tools can automatically collect data from your network equipment. The data could be for inventory and configuration information. The ITIL Library is responsible for all aspects of the organization. It’s also the basis for IT documentation.

Documentation in criminal justice

“Documentation” is the preferred term for the process of populating criminal databases. Examples include the National Counter-terrorism Center ‘s Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment ( “TIDE”), sex offender registries , and gang databases. [15]

See also

  • Authoring
  • Bibliographic control
  • Change control
  • Citation Index
  • Copyright
  • Description
  • Document
  • Documentation (field)
  • Science Documentation
  • Document identification
  • Document management system
  • Documentary
  • Freedom of information
  • Glossary
  • Historical document
  • Index (publishing)
  • ISO 690
  • ISO 5964
  • ISO 9001
  • IEC 61355
  • International Standard Bibliographic Description
  • Licensing
  • List of Contents
  • Manual (disambiguation)
  • Medical certificate
  • Publishing
  • Records management
  • Guide Style
  • Technical communication


  1. Jump up^ N / A (2003). “Guide to Documentation” (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 July 2007.
  2. Jump up^ CGRP. “A Guide to Documentation Styles” (PDF) . Retrieved 12 June 2009 .
  3. Jump up^ N / A. “A guide to MLA documentation” (PDF) . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 September 2006 . Retrieved 12 June 2009 .
  4. Jump up^ Berger, David. “Procedures and Documentation” (PDF) . Retrieved 15 June 2009 .
  5. Jump up^ Springhouse. Complete Guide to Documentation . Retrieved 12 June 2009 .
  6. Jump up^ Tampere University of Technology. “Thesis Writing at the Tampere University of Technology” (PDF) . Retrieved 12 June 2009 .
  7. Jump up^ Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Prince Edward Island. “A Guide for the Writing of Graduate Theses” (PDF) . Retrieved 12 June 2009 .
  8. Jump up^ University of Waikato. “Writing and Submitting a Dissertation or Thesis at the University of Waikato” (PDF) . Retrieved 12 June 2009 .
  9. Jump up^ Journal of Food Science . “Manuscript Submission” . Retrieved 12 June 2009 .
  10. Jump up^ Analytical Chemistry . “Information for Authors” . Retrieved 12 June 2009 .
  11. Jump up^ Cropper, Mark; Tony Dibbens (2002). “GAIA-RVS Documentation Procedures” (PDF) . Retrieved 15 June 2009 .
  12. Jump up^ N / A. “GLNPO’s Quality System Documentation Review Procedures and Tracking” (PDF) . Retrieved 15 June 2009 . Dead link ]
  13. Jump up^ UK Data Archive (2009). “Data Services Process Guides: Documentation Processing Procedures” (PDF) . Retrieved 15 June 2009 .
  14. Jump up^ UK Data Archive. “Data Services Process Guides: Documentation Processing Techniques” (PDF) . Retrieved 15 June 2009 . Dead link ]
  15. Jump up^ Rader Brown, Rebecca (2009). “The Gang’s All Here: Evaluating the Need for a National Gang Database”. Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems . 42 : 293-333.

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