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I am writing a document that I hope to show as a web page, and make available as a PDF that people might print. In the opening I have: "This document is an annotated guide to foo bar."

While I presently referring to it as a 'document' that seems the wrong word for a web page. Is there a general word/phrase to categorize such something that someone might be reading on a web site/paper/pdf on computer? Words I have considered:

  • document - close, but a bit too redolent of traditional paper document.
  • paper - doesn't capture web page dimension.
  • site - only works if they are online.
  • content - anemic and too generic. Could be a painting for all we know.
  • material - is very close, but suffers from similar shortcoming to content.
  • work - also close, but a bit academic and generic.
  • [nothing] That is, just write "This is an annotated guide to foo bar." I am leaning toward this solution, which isn't a solution as much as avoiding the issue.

**Related post*

Synonyms for "content" in publishing

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    Honestly, I see nothing wrong with document. It's perfectly understandable for both print and web form. – Nick2253 Jan 6 '15 at 18:34
  • @Nick that may be the best solution, besides the [nothing] strategy. – neuronet Jan 6 '15 at 18:56
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    Why get so hung up on how to describe the format of the document when its value or importance resides in what it is — a guide? I therefore think your last suggestion, "This is an annotated guide... ", represents the optimal approach. – Erik Kowal Jan 6 '15 at 19:09
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    Use the word that best describes the content, style, and target audience, whether it be article, book, chapter, paper, document, overview, reference, guide, poem, or whatever. Avoid terms that refer to the medium of distribution or the means of consumption. From what you ask, it's not important whether it is HTML or PDF or epub or mobi, online or offline, paper, parchment, plastic, or digital. – Drew Jan 6 '15 at 21:33
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Another option is "page," which can refer to either a webpage or a page of paper.

But it sounds like the best option is the last one you presented: omitting the word altogether. Skirting the issue may seem like the cowardly way out. But rewording problem sentences is a time honored tradition in English.

The following works just fine:

This is an annotated guide to foo bar.

But if that seems too informal, try something like this:

This annotated guide to foo bar is freely available at http:// www.foo.bar

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How about "digital resource"? This works for both online and offline content.

  • Or, because they may print out the pdf, just 'resource'. That seems pretty good. – neuronet Jan 6 '15 at 19:06
  • A printout of a PDF is no longer digital. "Digital" is useful because it specifically discounts paper copies, which you are not providing. I think most people would assume that any "digital resource" that you'd have need to print, could be printed. – VettelS Jan 6 '15 at 19:09
  • yes but if it ends up on a counter top in a conference room, they will only have the info available in paper, won't know its digital source. :) I expect it to be printed a lot... – neuronet Jan 6 '15 at 19:35

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