This paper examines fossils as documents. Fossils are informative in the documentary world because they represent the skeletal structures of once-living organisms—therefore, they are the documentary remnants of something that, previously, was a fully-complete organism or documentary entity. The production of trace fossils can be a useful conceptual model to help us better understand the processual quality of documentary entities. Trace fossils, given how they are produced through the activities of organisms, are fundamentally altered or always-partial representations of past organic entities and events. They illustrate how we can potentially conceive of all documents as partial and part of an unfolding process of articulation—documents are never complete and, thus, we should not treat their content as if it were. We should not reify documents as primarily representations of information or knowledge, as they actually primarily constituted by the things we lose in this process of creation, and that that our individual processes are struggling to recreate them to best of our abilities.
Montoya, Robert D.
"Trace Fossils, Process, and Documents,"
Proceedings from the Document Academy: Vol. 6
, Article 4.
Available at: https://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/docam/vol6/iss1/4
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)