Content (media)

Content is something ( an object, a substance, but also an abstract concept ), which in a " fillable " located area. It is between physical content (eg, the wine in a wine bottle ), measurable properties (eg, the capacity) and non-physical ( abstract ) content (eg, the contents of a book or a digital storage medium ) to distinguish.

Physical contents are goods that are in a container - for example, for storage or for transport. For non - physical content is mostly data, information or knowledge and opinions. They can be included, for example, in a file or message, or be mediated through literature or a work of art. For media contents, in particular the new media, even the anglicism content is being used.


The word content does not yet exist in Middle High German, but can be detected only in the 15th century. At that time it was used in legal language for the contents of a letter. The various forms of words ( content, inhald, innehaldt, hold hold, inholde ) and the previously detectable inhaldung or inholdinge ( 1393 ) point to a common root with the term " pause " back.

The adjectival use of content aimed at a distinction to the outer shape from (formal or external). As meaningless or vacuous something meaningless is called without significant statement.

Use and meaning

What is specifically considered as content of an object depends heavily on the specific question and the context. Both the qualitative aspect (which is the substance? ) And the quantitative aspect ( how much content is available? ) May be of importance. General content is an abstract concept that can be used ambiguously.

With the content is often the meaning meant in contrast to the external form. This ideal type of content is referred to as a statement under certain circumstances, subject or topic. The reduction of the content on its essential core leads to the Aristotelian notion of essence, the " gist ".

Occasionally, are meant by the content also has a capacity (capacity), size (circumference) or a share. This content can also be defined exactly. The corresponding branch of mathematics is the measure theory. In the content geometry is often short for the area (the area ) of a plane figure, or the capacity ( volume) of a body. In mathematical terminology, a distinction in this context between the Jordan content (see also Riemann integral ) and the applicable general Lebesgue integral.

Determination of content

For the determination of content, there are various methods. Material or mathematical definable content can usually be fairly accurately measured (see also category metrology ). However, the measurement results can be interpreted quite differently. Methods such as documentary exploration for, or communication studies content analysis aim to identify the contents as an essential component. The result is, for example, a kind of table of contents.

The question of which is the essential content depends strongly on the context, especially the interest and knowledge of the questioner. The question of the actual content in the general case, among other things, the subject of philosophy. The answer is closely connected with the question of the meaning and measurement of the content. In aesthetics, for example, the question of the relationship between content and form:

" Occurs in the values ​​of a work of art as such something essentially on the nature of the content it represents, the value of the idea, which expresses itself in it in which the content is not contrary to everything on the form itself"

For identification of contents serve metadata - information about the content. Examples include package inserts and tables of contents, list the individual components of a work. Partly can already be drawn from the outer shape of a container (eg a package ) or a name pull on the actual content. However, this can also lead to false conclusions. For example, to be fooled by deceptive packaging different content.

Control of content

Especially for substances that can be harmful to health or the environment, is to ensure that content does not escape uncontrollably. When transporting dangerous goods must ensure to take special precautions. If the packaging is damaged, for example through a hole or translucent so that the contents can escape, we speak in larger systems also of a leak. The delivery of ingredients may, however also wanted eg drugs.

Even when information can be intentional ( censorship, data protection) or involuntary ( Freedom of Information, Accountability ) monitor the content. Especially with non-physical content can pose the question whether property rights in the form of intangible monopoly rights ( intellectual property) may be invoked in them or not. Where contents can be part of the case law in a general form, must be clearly defined in legislation, which is to be understood as content and what is not. In the Federal German law on the use of teleservices (TDG) be content, for example, all data that arrives at the users of a teleservice, understood, except those related to the transfer process itself.

Rules for the listing of ingredients

In some areas, the type of listing of ingredients is required, such as for the ingredient list of foods and cosmetics (see INCI).