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Abstract

The concept of document is common and fundamental to numerous information-related disciplines. Perhaps because of this, many definitions of document have been proposed. A conceptual analysis reveals that all these definitions, though they vary in important ways, have a common feature that has not yet been stated explicitly: Humans are vital to documents. That is, a human being is inextricable from the very notion of document. This leads to a further conceptualization of documents as psycho-physical or socio-physical entities that are co-created. Consequently, all documents must be viewed as idiosyncratic and context-bound. Further ramifications for information research, ethics and practice are discussed. Finally, reconsideration of this conceptualization in light of the possible approach of the technological singularity is provoked.

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