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Narrower Term: 

n. ~ 1. A printed document with clearly defined areas left blank that are to be completed later. - 2. The materials and structure of an item; format1. - 3. The overall appearance, configuration, or shape, independent of its intellectual content; a document type. - 4. A model1 or pattern; something that gives shape; a mold2, 3. - 5. A style or convention for expressing ideas in a literary work or document; documentary form, including extrinsic and intrinsic elements. - 6. Typography · Type, spacers, and other materials assembled in a chase for printing.


Form2 is synonymous with format1, although this equivalence is a fairly recent shift in the language. Form is often used to distinguish between versions of an item in different media; for example, a document may be described as being in its original form, a microform, or a duplicate form.

(D Levy 2001, p. 69) The birth of the form2 nicely illustrates how documents were streamlined and tailored in the service of ever greater efficiency. . . . [Workers' documentation of their activities] could be standardized and speeded up by printing forms, sheets of paper whose printed material indicated exactly what information was needed to be filled in, and where. This meant the worker had less to write; the familiarity of a standard layout also increased his speed. This standardization also facilitated reading and summarizing as the report traveled up the hierarchy.
(Duranti 1998, p. 134) Diplomatics defines form4 as the complex of the rules of representation used to convey a message, that is, as the characteristics of a document which can be separated from the determination of the particular subjects, or places it concerns. Documentary form is both physical and intellectual.
(InterPARES Glossary 2002) Documentary form4: The rules of representation according to which the content of a record, its administrative and documentary context, and its authority are communicated. The two types of documentary form are extrinsic elements and intrinsic elements.
(Robek, et al. 1996, p. 338) Business forms5 serve as the primary means of communicating information in a methodical, standardized, and repetitive way. A well-designed form constitutes the equivalent of a flowchart which describes and standardizes a process. The form serves as a catalyst in providing information in an organized fashion so that it is possible to determine if a task has been completed or to reach a decision about the course of action.