AskDefine | Define documentation

Dictionary Definition



1 confirmation that some fact or statement is true [syn: certification, corroboration]
2 program listings or technical manuals describing the operation and use of programs [syn: software documentation]
3 documentary validation; "his documentation of the results was excellent"; "the strongest support for this this view is the work of Jones" [syn: support]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. Something transposed from a thought to a document; the written account of an idea.
  2. In the context of "Computing": : Documents that explain the operation of a particular software program.
    I'm telling sir, that feature is not in the documentation.


Something transposed from a thought to a document
Documents that explain the operation of a particular software program

Extensive Definition

In general terms, documentation is any communicable material (such as text, video, audio, etc., or combinations thereof) used to explain some attributes of an object, system or procedure. It is often used to mean engineering documentation or software documentation, which is usually paper books or computer readable files (such as HTML pages) that describe the structure and components, or on the other hand, operation, of a system/product.
A professional whose field and work is more or less exclusively to write documentation is called a technical writer. Normally, technical writers are trained or have a background in technical writing, along with some knowledge of the subject(s) they are documenting. Often, though, they collaborate with subject matter experts (SMEs), such as engineers.
Common types of computer hardware/software documentation include online help, FAQs, how-tos, and user guides. The term RTFM is often used in regard to such documentation, especially to computer hardware and software user guides.
A common type of software document frequently written by software engineers in the simulation industry is the SDF (software documentation folder). While developing the software for a simulator, which can range from embedded avionics devices to 3D terrain databases to full motion control systems, the engineer keeps a notebook detailing the development lifecycle of the project. The notebook can contain a requirements section, an interface section detailing the communication interface of the software, a notes section to detail the proof of concept attempts to track what worked or didn't work in solving certain problems, and a testing section to detail how the software will be tested to prove conformance to the requirements of the contract. The end 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 weaknesses in the design of the software. This document will allow future developers and maintainers of the trainer to come up to speed on the software design in as short a time as possible and have a documented reference when modifying code or searching for bugs.
In some European countries, documentation in an academic context is an older term, coined by Paul Otlet, for the field of study now more commonly known as library science and information science. Librarians with this specialization are called documentalists.

External links

documentation in Danish: Dokumentation
documentation in German: Dokumentation
documentation in French: Documentation
documentation in Italian: Documentazione (gestione della conoscenza)
documentation in Macedonian: Документација
documentation in Dutch: Documentatiesysteem
documentation in Polish: Dokumentacja programu
documentation in Portuguese: Documentação
documentation in Albanian: Dokumentimi
documentation in Simple English: Documentation
documentation in Finnish: Dokumentointi
documentation in Swedish: Dokumentation

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

account, affirmation, annals, attestation, authentication, backing, backing up, basis for belief, bearing out, body of evidence, bolstering, buttressing, catalog, certification, chain of evidence, chronicle, circumstantiation, clue, confirmation, correspondence, corroboration, corroboratory evidence, data, datum, evidence, exhibit, fact, facts, fortification, grounds, grounds for belief, history, indication, inventory, item of evidence, letters, list, manifestation, mark, material grounds, memorial, muniments, mute witness, piece of evidence, pipe roll, premises, proof, proving, proving out, ratification, reason to believe, record, recording, register, registry, reinforcement, relevant fact, relic, remains, roll, rolls, roster, rota, scroll, sign, strengthening, substantiation, support, supporting evidence, symptom, table, token, trace, undergirding, validation, verification, vestige
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