What word English speakers use to name educational texts in general - textbooks,
tutorial, educational and encyclopedia articles.

In my native language there is such word - it meaning covers everything, that you can read while studying subject.

Something close in English?

3 Answers 3


There might be more than one word you could use; the first one that came to my mind was references. See Collins, Definition #7:

reference (n.) a source of information or facts

The word is also used as a modifier, as in reference books. There is also the term reference library, which is where a library shelves books that can't be checked out.

The word has a lot of meanings, so it's not a special-purpose word that specifically and exclusively means "textbooks, tutorials, educational and encyclopedia articles that one can read while studying a particular subject." However, if you were to write a paper, and you wanted to list all the sources you used to acquire information, you could do so under the heading REFERENCES.

Edit: As FumbleFingers mentioned in his comment, there is also the term literature. I've seen that when it refers to published works about a particular topic. As one helpful website says:

The first part of any scientific thesis, dissertation, or journal article is a literature review. Yes, I know it’s usually called the introduction. But that’s all the introduction really is – a review of everything anyone has ever written relevant to your topic, as well as a short statement as to what your aims are.

  • It can also be called the literature, even when the subject itself is scientific rather than literary. Plus, of course, there's good old textbooks. Jul 24, 2013 at 19:40
  • @Fumble: The way I read the question, the O.P. is looking for a hypernym of "textbooks": i.e. one word that covers articles, textbooks, and YouTube videos. I like your suggestion of "the literature" (a la Meaning 2a; really, you could make that an answer).
    – J.R.
    Jul 24, 2013 at 19:44
  • @J.R., thanks... I'm developing web-site, which generates revision tests from source texts as book chapter...Looking for best word to cover all possible sources. Jul 24, 2013 at 20:04
  • @J.R.: Nah. Particularly in light of Joe's comment here, I think references / reference works is probably the best fit. That's what we use in the ELL FAQ, where we ask that answers be backed up with facts and references Jul 24, 2013 at 20:50
  • @Fumble: Suit yourself. I generally feel like SE sites are all the better when we present a range of answers, not merely a single "best" answer. Hence, since you didn't want to answer yourself, I've incorporated your excellent suggestion into my answer.
    – J.R.
    Jul 25, 2013 at 2:47

Teachers often use the word materials for the resources they use in the course of their teaching. Materials include not only printed texts but online texts, audio files, Powerpoint presentations, videos, and so on.

You might find the following website useful. Here is an extract from their page entitled: Development of Educational Materials.

In this referral center you will find a systematic approach to development and design of hypertext educational materials.

The knowledge and skills presented in these materials will help you develop higher quality hypertext materials for different purposes, ranging from personal pages to university textbooks.


  • Thanks...I upvoted. Actually, I used materials first! But then some people on usabilityhub sad, that they don't get what that sentence supposed to mean, and I decided they understand it like 'substance'. May be not native speakers... Really complicated issue for me to choose best fit. Jul 25, 2013 at 17:08

I would think 'publications' might be a good fit for this need. It implies books, periodicals, and most other printed or even electronic materials.

To specify a particular subset of all specific publications, I would use the phrase 'relevant publications' or 'related publications,' as is appropriate.

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