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A classic movie!

(You should make an effort to answer the question at the bottom of each page of these notes. Doing so will reinforce the concepts being discussed.)

Hardware and Software

In thinking about The Wizard of Oz, you are thinking about information, not about something physical. You would not usually think about the actual material used to store the information (movie film or a DVD) nor about the device which uses the information (a movie projector or a DVD player). A DVD is physical, but the movie itself is intangible information.

When you speak of a movie, you usually mean the intangible movie, not a particular device that has a record of it. (Although human language is wonderfully flexible; if you were in a video store and someone asked you to hand them "The Wizard of Oz" you would probably hand them the correct DVD.)

The word hardware is used for physical devices such as TV sets, DVD players and computers. The word software is used for the information used with such devices: movies, music, novels, web pages, computer programs, and data.

When talking about computer systems, hardware means the physical parts of the computer. Software means the programs and data used with the physical computer.


Imagine that you have a copy of the book Tom Sawyer. You tear it to pieces and push the shreds through your garbage disposal. (It was probably assigned reading.) Have you destroyed the novel Tom Sawyer?