A document is a presentation of information designed for consumption by people. A document may contain information in any medium or in multiple media, though text is generally the dominant medium. A document may be persistent and suitable for archival uses, or it may be ephemeral, lasting only for one viewing.
Dictionary definitions of the concept of a document generally emphasize documents that have a physical form. Even when computers are considered, the definitions assume that a document is a file on a storage device.
Modern computing, thanks especially to the Web, has greatly expanded the scope of the term. Computers make documents more diverse because computers allow users to create, store, and manage material from a variety of media using similar metaphors and interfaces. Computers may also create documents on the fly from fragments stored in a database, as is common in e-commerce and other Web applications. These documents may only exist long enough to be...