Roger Pédauque

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“From the Latin documentum giving the roots in teaching (docere = to teach), to its marginalization by the more recent, more frequent but hardly more accurate term of ‘information’, the concept appears to be commonly based on two functions: evidence (the ‘evidence’ presented in courts or the elements of a case file) and information (a representation of the world or a testimony).” (p. 1)

“The document was constructed as an object, whose most common material form is a sheet of paper, over a process that lasted for centuries mingling tools, knowledge and status.  Over the last few decades with electronic documents, we have entered a new phase, certain of whose features are in direct filiation with the previous period, whereas others on the contrary mark a radical change and perhaps the emergence of a different concept embodying all or part of the social utility that we are accustomed to calling ‘document’.  The most obvious manifestation of this change is therefore the loss of stability of the document as a material object and its transformation in to a process constructed on request, which can undermine the trust placed in it.  The querying between rupture and continuity does not arise only for the object.  The analysis methods and epistemologies are also rapidly changing.” (p.2)

p.3: document sliced along three axes: document as form (structure), document as sign, document as medium (social status)

“Traditional Document = medium + inscription” and  “Electronic document = structures + data” (p. 9)

“Document = inscription + meaning” (p.12) and “Electronic document = informed text + knowledge” (p. 15)

“An electronic document is a trace of social relations reconstructed by computer systems” “document = text + legitimacy” and “Electronic document = text + procedure”


Pédauque, Roger T. 2003. Document: Forme, signe et médium, les re-formulations du numérique. Version 3. Paris,
France: Sciences et technologies de l’information et de la communication, Centre national de la recherche
scientifique (CNRS-STIC). [Translated into English as: Document: Form, sign and medium, as reformulated for
electronic documents. Available online at: http://halshs.archivesouvertes.