Twenty-four hundred years ago, a Middle Eastern farmer named Halfat paid his taxes by giving barley and wheat to King Artaxerces. The receipt that documented this transaction was recorded on a fragment of pottery.
We don't use pottery, papyrus, and parchment anymore, and although paper hasn't gone away, electronic documents have replaced much of it. A corresponding evolution has taken place in the nature of document exchanges and the business processes they enable. Every major advance in transportation, communications, manufacturing, or financial technology has brought a need for different kinds of information flow. People have met these needs by developing specialized types of documents containing the required information. Letters of credit, bills of lading, paper currency, promisary notes, checks, and other new types of documents came into being in response to a business opportunity made possible by some advance in technology.
The complete chapter is available here Chapter 1 (pdf 1.2MB)