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## What does DATA means ? ( and its relation with information and knowledge )

I am having a major difficulty understanding the meaning of DATA. Yes, i know the theories and the explanations that DATA means raw data, unanalysed, unproccessed and etc. But i need examples to understand this. I know that if we take the example of a statistics, that the data in the statistics are just numbers and without analysing this data it has no meaning, but i need different examples. For example, when you look at a CUP. The cup is what ? When you say ''cup'' isnt that data ? but that also tells me everything i need to know, so its also an information isnt it ? Isnt that also knowledge ? How would you describe a CUP only by its DATA ? Same for a laptop. How would you describe it ? Wheres the DATA ? whats the data ? how to describe a t-shirt only by data ? I cant understand that... If you say ''t-shirt'' even if you dont apply anything else, it still gives me all the information i need, doesnt it ? Please, if anyone can explain this, give me as much as examples as possible. I want examples and comparisons..

Please do not copy any further theories and explanations of ''data''. I have read tons and tons of explanations. I need examples and comparisons, tons of them. Thank you.

• #### Barry Palmer

• +1
Jun 8 2012: Hello Tisho, this is an excellent question.

For example, when you look at a CUP. The cup is what ? When you say ''cup'' isnt that data ?

Yes, "cup" is an item of data. Other pieces of data are:
- the outside height of the cup
- the inside height of the cup
- the outside diameter of the cup
- the inside diameter of the cup
- the volume that cup can hold
- the size of the handle
- the weight of the cup
- the material of the cup (plastic, ceramic, metal)
- the number of cups on a shelf

Generally speaking , an item of data has little or no meaning until you associate it with other data to get information.

Don't let these concepts confuse you. The concepts of data, information and knowledge are vague and overlap. In the area of artificial intelligence, there is no agreement on the definition of information. Personally, I would like a separate word for knowledge about how to do something, like how to make a cup, or how to color a t-shirt. Unfortunately, the English language can be very vague.

Hope this helps, and keep questioning data, information and knowledge. Maybe you will develop some rigorous definitions for these terms.
• #### Tisho Yanchev

• 0
Jun 8 2012: Greetings ! Thank you for your answer ! I am proud to tell you that i already fully understand what data information and knowledge means. It turns out that the language is so messy and full of wrong interpretations that its almost all related. Like, learning, understanding, acquiring, wisdom etc. There are so many wrongly interpreted words in our language, not only english, but all of them. Anyway, you seem like you are very knowledgeable about that, so, can i ask you if you happen to know some good books you could recommend me about data processing, information processing, data analysis, and information analysis ? I know there must be tons of them but im also sure most of them are waste of time. So, any recommendation would be appreciated !
Thanks.
• #### Barry Palmer

• +1
Jun 8 2012: Tisho, I wish I could recommend something, but I have been out of the field for too long. If you are near a college or university, you might want to get a book for a course in one of those subjects. Of course, you might find one on the web too. I also recall, about ten years ago, finding a site that had a large number of computer courses that you could take, and it was very inexpensive. For a small annual fee you could take all of their courses.

Good luck with your pursuits.
• #### Tisho Yanchev

• 0
Jun 10 2012: Hey ! Don't about it ! And thanks for the advise !

Thank you ! I wish you the best of luck too !
• #### Bernard Seremonia

• +1
Jun 6 2012: DATA, INFORMATION & KNOWLEDGE

Without DATA, we don't know a presence.Without INFORMATION, we don''t know how to interact with DATA. Without KNOWLEDGE, we couldn't assert about CONSISTENCY and USEFULNESS of an INFORMATION.

Illustration:

- An expert try to research genetic (DATA). He/she knew more facts about genetic. He/she knew about how to control genetic (INFORMATION), but he/she wasn't sure whether there is better way (UPDATED INFORMATION). But time passed, and now he/she knows which one is trusted and most consistent INFORMATION (1st level of KNOWLEDGE), and how to make this INFORMATION USEFUL (2nd level of KNOWLEDGE) for someone's life.

- Two persons might accept the same INFORMATION, but one of them may reject the same INFORMATION because the INFORMATION is correct but it's meaningless and no related to his/her life. One of them finally may be consider this INFORMATION is not for know, but may be in the future it will be the most useful and favorite INFORMATION (KNOWLEDGE).

- A device could save INFORMATION, but our conscious choose WHICH INFORMATION (KNOWLEDGE) should be used in practice.//

The points are:

- DATA is OBJECT, EVENT (WE PERCEIVE, empirically or mentally)
- INFORMATION is FACTS, POSSIBILITIES about DATA (WE EXPLORE, How to, Who, What, Why, When, Where)
- KNOWLEDGE is SELECTED INFORMATION (WE SELECT, as we believe, trusted, consistent and useful)

Quickly applied: I SELECT PERCEIVED FACT(S), therefore I have KNOWLEDGE from SELECTED INFORMATION about SOMETHING (DATA).

Less or more ...
• #### Josh S

• +1
Jun 3 2012: Well i'll just come up with a few examples off the top of my head and hope they help =)
1. The data shows a decline in the fish population
-in this example, the data could be the number of fish
2. Based on the data, we can infer that stars are large
-in this example, the data could be mathematics, telescope images, or other facts
3. The people worked long hours to collect the data in an effort to solve the problem
- in this example, the data is something that will help solve the problem, it is evidence, information

Based on your cup example, data on the cup could be based on:
what it is made of / what type of cup it is/ what can the cup be used for

Data simply describes something. Data is information,
However, the purpose of data is to support something. You use data to prove a point or define a phenomenon or answer a question

Simply saying that it is a t-shirt does not support anything, does not prove anything. You could say that data of the t-shirt shows that it is 40% cotton and 60% polyester. Or, based on the data, it is not waterproof.
Also, data is obtained through experiments or observation. To simply say something is a t-shirt did not require experimentation or observation. However, to determine the cotton to polyester ratio requires experimentation.

Hope this helps, but seeing it used in context more often will definitely help. I think if you're trying to understand what it means, look at situations and examples in which it is used, instead of at explanations.