I want a common word that could categorise both document (like presentation/portfolio etc.) and video. Any good ideas?

I need something simple enough that everyone can understand & not just the language experts.

2 Answers 2


The word media could cover both. The definition of the singular medium refers to:

  • one of the means or channels of general communication, information, or entertainment in society, as newspapers, radio, or television.
  • an intervening agency, means, or instrument by which something is conveyed or accomplished: Words are a medium of expression.

That is, both a document and video are forms of media, because they can carry or convey something. You could further refer to a video as "visual media" and a document as "written media".

  • I think the more established meaning of "media" is indeed your first one. Newer usage in the marketing of pc consumables shifts it to cover the physical entities (cds, dvds, tapes, etc.) on which content is recorded, but I think you're stretching a bit further than even that. OP seems to be looking for something that means the actual content, without refering to the specific medium it happens to be recorded on. Commented Aug 12, 2011 at 23:39

I learned linguistics while I was in Year 12, and I learned that text was the technical term, to include documents and videos, as the definition of a text was:

A text is any piece of written, spoken, non-verbal, visual, or auditory material that communicates a message.

This is taken from Heinemann English Language 3&4.

A document would come under a written/visual text, that is, a text that has been written, and a text that can be seen. A video would come under the visual/auditory text type.

The definitions of "written", "visual", "auditory" texts are(from the textbook):

Written text includes newspaper and magazine reports and articles, novels, texts on computer screens, instructional manuals, shopping lists, etc.

Visual text is the use of a range of visual images to communicate meaning.
Auditory text includes materials such as sound effets or background music that can either communicate meaning on its own or add meaning when it is used with another text.

Thus, the general term I would advise, would be text, as the term that would encompass both a document and a video.

  • From the point of view of a programmer (or program, if you don't mind personifying software), it seems reasonable to call all these things (video / text / music files) just "documents". We usually store them all under a folder called "My documents", after all. But from the critical deconstructivist's point of view, they're definitely "text" (their motto "the text is all" applies to movies and music just as much as to written texts). Commented Aug 12, 2011 at 23:31
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    Thanks @Thursagen.. but I fear text wont work for me since not a lot of common people, dont understand this meaning of text. I need something simple enough that everyone can understand & not just the language experts. Commented Aug 13, 2011 at 5:16
  • @Marcos, yes that's so true. Which is sad
    – Thursagen
    Commented Aug 13, 2011 at 5:18

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