Aviva Directory » Reference & News

This portion of our web guide covers topics such as education, media, news, and reference materials.

While taken for granted in many parts of the world, the purpose of education has been debated throughout history. There have been arguments that education was necessary for an engaged citizenry, while others believed that its true purpose was to promote obedience and indoctrinate the youth into the dominant cultural ideas. Still, others would hold that the pursuit of knowledge has value in and of itself.

Education is an intentional activity aimed at transmitting knowledge or cultivating skills and character traits. The term may be applied to the process or the product of the process.

Common types of education may be considered formal, non-formal, or informal. Formal education takes place in designated education or training institutions, such as schools, colleges, or universities, and is structured by curricular objectives. In formal education, the process is guided by an instructor, teacher, or professor.

Today, formal education is usually compulsory up to a specified age and divided into educational stages that may vary from country to country.

Non-formal education often supplements formal education or may be offered as an alternative. While structured in accordance with educational guidelines, non-formal education is more flexible, and often takes place in settings outside of the formal institutions.

Informal education is achieved in the course of daily life, within the family and community. Experiences that have a formative effect on the way that an individual thinks, feels, or behaves can be considered educational. Homeschooling, for example, may include both non-formal and informal components.

Information about current events is known as news, and it may be provided in a number of ways, including word of mouth, by print, by mail, over the air, or through electronic communication.

The news media consists of mass media that focus on delivering news to the general public. The news media may include news agencies, newspapers, news magazines, news radio programs, news television channels, or news websites, and may be provided by large international news media outlets or by individual online journalists.

Often, news outlets are broken down into print media, broadcast media, and online media. However, both the print media and the broadcast media include online elements.

Within the United States, most news media were clearly and openly biased up until the early 20th century. Newspapers served as the voices of the various political parties, a type of journalism known as partisan journalism. Objective reporting didn't occur in a significant way until the early 20th century, although it can be reasonably argued that we have returned to partisan journalism in the 21st century, mainly in the guise of interpretive reporting.

Media literacy is the ability to critique the news media, allowing the media literate individual to assess the author's credibility and intent. By understanding the role of media, we can assess the trustworthiness of the information we come across, and become critical thinkers rather than consumers of information that may or may not be accurate. Every creator of media content has a specific point of view, so if we can determine the author's point of view, we can more accurately interpret the information.

Media literacy involves four basic questions. Who authored this? Why was it created? Is it credible? Is it biased? While it might seem as if the last two questions are the same, they are not. Biased sources may still give accurate and credible information, although they may leave out facts that don't further their agenda.

Used in both educational and news environments, references may refer to papers, books, periodicals, or electronic equivalents that may be referred to for information. In most cases, references are intended to be found quickly when needed and are usually referred to for specific pieces of information, rather than read from beginning to end. The writing style is purely informative, emphasizing facts, and avoiding the use of the first person.

Examples include almanacs, annals, atlases, bibliographies, biographical sources, catalogs, chronicles, compendiums, concordances, dictionaries, digests, directories, discographies, encyclopedias, filmographies, gazetteers, glossaries, handbooks, indexes, indices, lexicons, lists, manuals, phrasebooks, research guides, thesauruses, timetables, and yearbooks, and may be in print, in electronic form, or both. The Aviva Directory is an example of a web directory.

In libraries, reference books are usually restricted to in-house use, and are not loaned, in contrast to other books, although there are some exceptions.

In another sense, libraries, museums, universities, and archives are sources of reference material.



History of Media

Media Literacy


Reference & Curation



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