The IT Law Wiki


Computer software[]

Documentation is

the general term for the material that a programmer must give to a user to explain how the program runs. Programs frequently come with pamphlets that explain the program’s powers and limitations. The documentation must anticipate as many potential questions and exigencies as the programmer can imagine the user will face because most people do not understand computers and programs fully, and it would therefore be very difficult for users to solve their problems themselves.[1]
[n]arrative, schematic, or tabular material which accompanies a computer program or is embedded in it. Computer program documentation has the purposes of recording and explaining:
  • The development of the computer program.
  • The way in which it was constructed, including important decisions between alternatives.
  • The way it is intended to operate in normal, frequently encountered circumstances.
  • The way it is intended to operate in abnormal or infrequently encountered circumstances.
  • What tests have been made to verify its correctness.

Computer program documentation may be internal to the program in the form of:

Or external to the program in the form of:

Evidence law[]

Documentation may include written notes, audio tape or videotapes, printed forms, sketches, or photographs that form a detailed record of a scene, the evidence recovered, and actions taken during the search of a scene.


  1. Whelan Assocs., Inc. v. Jaslow Dental Lab., Inc., 797 F.2d 1222, 1231 n.21 (3d Cir. 1986). cert. denied, 479 U.S. 1031 (1987).
  2. A Working Glossary of Computer Software Terms, at 5-6.