In the development of documentation studies at the University of Tromsø and the founding of the Document Academy it was asserted that one should view a document as having three complementary and simultaneous aspects: physical, mental, and social. These three document dimensions and relationships between them are discussed. Physicality is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for being a document, there must also be a mental angle, which, in turn, entails a social (cultural) angle. The physical disposition of documents is influenced by social controls. The inability of any one angle to fully characterize a document explains the role of documents in the social construction of reality and why “relevance” in retrieval evaluation can be understood but resists scientific treatment.
"The Physical, Mental and Social Dimensions of Documents,"
Proceedings from the Document Academy: Vol. 3
, Article 4.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/docam/vol3/iss1/4