For the R.E.M. album, see: Document (album)
A document is a writing that contains information.
Traditionally, the medium of a document was paper and the information was applied to it as ink either by hand (to make a hand-written document) or by a mechanical process (such as a printing press or a laser printer).
Through time, documents have also been written with ink on papyrus (starting in ancient Egypt) or parchment, scratched as runes on stone using a sharp apparatus, stamped or cut into clay and baked to make clay tablets (i.e. in Sumerian and Mesopotamic civilisations). Paper, papyrus or parchment might be rolled up as scrolls or cut into sheets and bound into books. Stacks of clay tablets might also be thought of as books. Small documents might also be stapled.
Today, electronic means for storing and displaying documents are also popular; a variety of computers and displays can be used, for example:
Documents in all forms are frequently found to be material evidence in criminal and civil proceedings. The forensic analysis of such a document falls under the scope of questioned document examination.
For an in-depth, recent and multiapproach study, see the collective text (French version or English version) under pseudo Roger T. Pédauque.