This term has historically been used to describe a report that states the social or political position of an organization. In recent years, however, the IT industry has adopted the term to describe articles that explain a certain technology or product. For example, a company may release a white paper to the public in order to educate consumers about one of their products. The terminology used may be somewhat technical, but the goal of a white paper is usually to describe the technology or product in terms most people can understand. That way nerds don't get to have all the fun each time a new technology is invented.