What constitutes a work?

Although the author has long been dead, the author still carries some sort of aura (authority?) perhaps, to have something in print or in wide circulation. Or does authority lie in the publisher who holds the resources necessary to get one’s work out there, or indeed the editor or reviewer who decides whether the work should be published at all? Though the threshold for getting things published is very low now, in terms of resources needed and access to distribution networks.

At what point does a work become published? How about things that are floating around on the web, things that are still in progress and waiting to be edited, and still evolving all the time and continually being edited (the Print Wikipedia project comes to mind)? Or texts that reside in a public, dynamic, collaborative document on the web where multiple people contribute and own. Or the paratexts (comments, annotations) that contiuously influence the original text and the author is compelled to make continuous edits.

And what really constitutes a ‘work’, is it the fact that it is bound and presented as a coherent, ‘closed’ object? Once it is ‘open’, or when it is incoherent – is that still considered a ‘work’? Are social media posts ‘works’?

(written with Markdown directly in the Tumblr site)