Documents are fundamental in our lives because they are the means to convey information and/or the formal evidence of something. Although they date back to the first times of human civilization, the current technological development has turned upside-down many classical aspects of document creation, management, processing and exploitation. In particular, the advent of computer systems has made much easier document production and transmission, which is an opportunity but also a source of problems. A problem is how to turn into a computer-suitable form all existing documents; another is the introduction of digital documents, as a replacement of legacy ones, in the well-established bureaucratic mechanisms that rule our society since several millennia. This is not easy, due to the many different kinds of documents at hand, and to the different perspectives and needs of the institutions interested in document management and of their users. Here, after reviewing various perspectives on documents and providing a historical survey of their evolution, various categories of documents are identified, and a particular focus on digital ones is given.


Digital Library Digital Format Legacy Document Historical Survey Physical Support 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di InformaticaUniversità di BariBariItaly

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