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zī liào
n. material, data; means
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资料 vs 材料:

1. 资料 zī liào [n] material, data; means
资料 is usually data or information that's written or printed out in papers, for example:
我打算下午去图书馆查找资料。 [phr] I plan to go to the library this afternoon to look for information.

资料 can also mean "means", for example:
生产资料 [phr] means of production


2. 材料 cái liào [n] material, stuff; material, data; (figuratively) makings, stuff, material
材料 can be data or information that is written or printed in paper, same as 资料.

In addition 材料 can also be other types of materials (资料 does not have this meaning), for example:
绿色建筑材料 [phr] green building materials
环保材料 [nphr] environment-friendly material

材料 also has a figurative meaning (资料 does not have this meaning), for instance:
他不是当领导的材料。 [phr] He does not have the makings of a leader.
lisaC
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