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Data, Information and Knowledge

What is data known as

Data can be defined as raw facts and figures that can be used to analyse statistical decisions. Normally data holds volumes of values, which are results of events or transactions. Examples of data include results from consumer surveys or readings from sensors. Supermarkets hold data in many forms such as loyalty card numbers or the serial number of the product being sold. This data is generated from events of entering products into a database or saving customers details for loyalty card accounts. Banks also use data. Banks may use data in many ways such as bank accounts and checks. When a person deposits a check into a bank account, an event would be triggered to record the transaction values. The data may contain the bank account number with the sort code or IBN number also the amount paid in.

Each of those types of details is represented as data in the form of numbers, letters, symbols or any other types of characters which are stored on a database or in a file.

It is possible to capture date in many ways such as barcodes to allow point-of-sale systems to detect what product is being queried; letters and numbers on a car number plate which can be detected by speed cameras to produce an image and identify the person speeding. Another way is banks using a sort-code or IBAN to determine what branch the account holder’s bank account originated from.

It might seem simple to have a bunch of numbers then use that for data. But data is useless unless it is in context. If you are given “10” you will not know what that “10” belongs to. It could be age, amount of items bought and many more. When there in context is very useful when processed turning into useful information.

What is information?

Information is the useful data that has been processed by the computer. This information contains data that is in context allowing it to potentially be useful and understandable. For example, when a barcode is read at the till, the data is fed into a computer as a query. The software that the till uses will use this raw data to find the listing upon the database. Upon finding the item in the database it will gather the item name, price and calculate how much the total items bought altogether will cost and then will be displayed so that it is readable. The data is now in context making it information to the users.

What id knowledge

Knowledge is when information has been acknowledged and rules are applied to it to use data effectively. For example, a store manager will get the amount of items sold and will then have to apply his knowledge to determine the results on what to do with the information given. This could be to increase marketing or discontinue the product. People already contain knowledge but this type of knowledge needs to be applied as a guide to make the correct decisions.

How data can arise: Direct and indirect data capture

Data capture is the collection of data that is entered into a computer system. There are many ways that data can be entered into a computer system such as; speech recognition using a microphone, use of a keyboard, use of a touch screen and many more.

Data can be captured directly and indirectly. Direct data capture is the collection of data, which is used for a particular purpose. This includes the identification of products from input data from the barcode scanner. Another example can be a persons account details being read directly from the chip in a credit card. On the other hand, indirect data capture is the collection of data, which is a by-product that is collected for another purpose. This can be the usage of the data collected by tills to determine the remaining stock in the stock room.

Data encoding

Data can be encodes to produce shorter or increased usability of data. For example a survey can consist of M and F for male or female. The letters are simpler and easy to understand requiring less input. Another example is the use of prefixes in an airport name i.e LHR means London Heathrow Airport or even FRA means Frankfurt airport. Postcodes in the UK also code for the location, the same as zip codes in the US. Codes are used since it is quicker to enter and fewer errors are likely to be made. The code allows less storage to be used and less of the main memory used (RAM) Using this type of coding, it allows data to be consistent making decreased redundancy or errors in the whole document or data.

Loss of precision

Coding the data can cause a loss in precision. Many questioners have an option to select age. E.g. A. Under 18; B. 18-25 C. 26-30 Even though this way of coding is easier to understand and there are reduced errors, but users who are 18 and other users, which are 22 come under the same age bracket, therefore there is loss of precision when gathering data. Figures will not be accurate but mere predictions.

Value of Judgements

This type of judgement is based upon a personal view. It is subjective rather than objective. Since it is your own opinion, it may differ with a different persons opinion. Essentially each value has its own preference with each individual. If a person wakes up at 7 A.M. he/she might find it early, but someone else who wakes up at 5 A.M. might find that 7 A.M is late. That’s how different information can be valued.

Computer Science


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