Data vs Information


People often miss the subtle difference between data and information and use the words interchangeably.

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Meaning Data is raw, unorganized facts that need to be processed. Data can be something simple and seemingly random and useless until it is organized. When data is processed, organized, structured or presented in a given context so as to make it useful, it is called Information.
Example Each student's test score is one piece of data The class' average score or the school's average score is the information that can be concluded from the given data.
Definition Latin 'datum' meaning "that which is given". Data was the plural form of datum singular (M150 adopts the general use of data as singular. Not everyone agrees.) Information is interpreted data.

Contents: Data vs Information

Data vs Information - Differences in meaning

Data are plain facts. When data are processed, organized, structured or presented in a given context so as to make them useful, they are called Information.

It is not enough to have data (such as statistics on the economy). Data in themselves are fairly useless. But when these data are interpreted and processed to determine its true meaning, they become useful and can be called Information. Data is computer's language. Information is our translation of this language.

Grammatical note on the word "Data"

It should be noted that data is plural (for datum), so the correct grammatical usage is "Data are misleading.". However, in practice people tend to use data as a singular form. e.g. "This data is misleading."

Video explaining the differences


Comments: Data vs Information

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January 12, 2014, 4:49am

Data is an unprocessd info. While processd data simple!

— 37.✗.✗.173

June 21, 2013, 10:22am

I thanks you for writing these website. These is very useful for my learnings.

— 46.✗.✗.100

July 22, 2011, 10:13pm

010101001110100101010 is data which can be interpreted as a greeting which then exists as information in the interpreter.
The interpreter could be human, computer or any other entity having procedural capacities which render the data 'informative'.
At this point we cannot consider the data rendered as information but only 'informative' because only procedural, algorithmic agency will be involved. Our present day computers can do this. In the example above they could be designed to recognise the above data string, instructed to recognise that it is a product of relative primes, and then to rearrange it into a quadrilateral. To the computer it would not be information,only data rendered 'informative', but to a human being it would be a greeting (interpreted from visual data on a computer screen).

— 151.✗.✗.218

June 1, 2009, 9:42pm

data and information diference

— 213.✗.✗.126

June 1, 2009, 9:40pm

answer the equation that what is the similarity of data and information? and send by my e_mail address

— 213.✗.✗.126

November 8, 2008, 12:42am

sab bakwas h

— 220.✗.✗.204

June 23, 2008, 7:59am

for eg . Suppose we have marksheet with us , now in this case we have marks as the data and the complete marksheet is information.

— 59.✗.✗.112

June 23, 2008, 7:50am

this is becuase the raw data that is marks do not give any information to us , while from the processed data that is the different sorts of information in marksheet like total marks, percentage , division etc we get some information as to where the student stands in class. (at what position etc.)

— 59.✗.✗.36

June 23, 2008, 7:42am

for eg . Suppose we have marksheet with us , now in this case we have marks as the data and the complete marksheet is information.

— 59.✗.✗.36

November 14, 2012, 4:03pm

This is complete nonsense. The examples of average scores (as information) are of statistics - by definition. But then the left hand column claims that statistics are "only" data! There seems to be no generally accepted distinction between these two terms at all.

— 193.✗.✗.250

November 19, 2009, 9:42am

Check this nice explanation of information:

— 130.✗.✗.18
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