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For data in computer science, see Data (computing). Data_sentence_0

For the journal, see Scientific Data (journal). Data_sentence_1

For the Star Trek character, see Data (Star Trek). Data_sentence_2

For other uses, see Data (disambiguation) and Datum (disambiguation). Data_sentence_3

Data are characteristics or information, usually numerical, that are collected through observation. Data_sentence_4

In a more technical sense, data are a set of values of qualitative or quantitative variables about one or more persons or objects, while a datum (singular of data) is a single value of a single variable. Data_sentence_5

Although the terms "data" and "information" are often used interchangeably, these terms have distinct meanings. Data_sentence_6

In some popular publications, data are sometimes said to be transformed into information when they are viewed in context or in post-analysis. Data_sentence_7

In academic treatments of the subject, however, data are simply units of information. Data_sentence_8

Data is employed in scientific research, businesses management (e.g., sales data, revenue, profits, stock price), finance, governance (e.g., crime rates, unemployment rates, literacy rates), and in virtually every other form of human organizational activity (e.g., censuses of the number of homeless people by non-profit organizations). Data_sentence_9

Data are measured, collected and reported, and analyzed, whereupon it can be visualized using graphs, images or other analysis tools. Data_sentence_10

Data as a general concept refers to the fact that some existing information or knowledge is represented or coded in some form suitable for better usage or processing. Data_sentence_11

Raw data ("unprocessed data") is a collection of numbers or characters before it has been "cleaned" and corrected by researchers. Data_sentence_12

Raw data needs to be corrected to remove outliers or obvious instrument or data entry errors (e.g., a thermometer reading from an outdoor Arctic location recording a tropical temperature). Data_sentence_13

Data processing commonly occurs by stages, and the "processed data" from one stage may be considered the "raw data" of the next stage. Data_sentence_14

Field data is raw data that is collected in an uncontrolled "in situ" environment. Data_sentence_15

Experimental data is data that is generated within the context of a scientific investigation by observation and recording. Data_sentence_16

Data has been described as the new oil of the digital economy. Data_sentence_17

Etymology and terminology Data_section_0

Further information: Data (word) Data_sentence_18

The first English use of the word "data" is from the 1640s. Data_sentence_19

The word "data" was first used to mean "transmissible and storable computer information" in 1946. Data_sentence_20

The expression "data processing" was first used in 1954. Data_sentence_21

The Latin word data is the plural of datum, "(thing) given," neuter past participle of dare "to give". Data_sentence_22

Data may be used as a plural noun in this sense, with some writers—usually scientific writers—in the 20th century using datum in the singular and data for plural. Data_sentence_23

However, in everyday language, "data" is most commonly used in the singular, as a mass noun (like "sand" or "rain"). Data_sentence_24

The APA manual of style requires "data" to be plural. Data_sentence_25

Meaning Data_section_1

See also: DIKW pyramid Data_sentence_26

Data, information, knowledge and wisdom are closely related concepts, but each has its own role in relation to the other, and each term has its own meaning. Data_sentence_27

According to a common view, data are collected and analyzed; data only becomes information suitable for making decisions once it has been analyzed in some fashion. Data_sentence_28

One can say that the extent to which a set of data is informative to someone depends on the extent to which it is unexpected by that person. Data_sentence_29

The amount of information contained in a data stream may be characterized by its Shannon entropy. Data_sentence_30

Knowledge is the understanding based on extensive experience dealing with information on a subject. Data_sentence_31

For example, the height of Mount Everest is generally considered data. Data_sentence_32

The height can be measured precisely with an altimeter and entered into a database. Data_sentence_33

This data may be included in a book along with other data on Mount Everest to describe the mountain in a manner useful for those who wish to make a decision about the best method to climb it. Data_sentence_34

An understanding based on experience climbing mountains that could advise persons on the way to reach Mount Everest's peak may be seen as "knowledge". Data_sentence_35

The practical climbing of Mount Everest's peak based on this knowledge may be seen as "wisdom". Data_sentence_36

In other words, wisdom refers to the practical application of a person's knowledge in those circumstances where good may result. Data_sentence_37

Thus wisdom complements and completes the series "data", "information" and "knowledge" of increasingly abstract concepts. Data_sentence_38

Data are often assumed to be the least abstract concept, information the next least, and knowledge the most abstract. Data_sentence_39

In this view, data becomes information by interpretation; e.g., the height of Mount Everest is generally considered "data", a book on Mount Everest geological characteristics may be considered "information", and a climber's guidebook containing practical information on the best way to reach Mount Everest's peak may be considered "knowledge". Data_sentence_40

"Information" bears a diversity of meanings that ranges from everyday usage to technical use. Data_sentence_41

This view, however, has also been argued to reverse the way in which data emerges from information, and information from knowledge. Data_sentence_42

Generally speaking, the concept of information is closely related to notions of constraint, communication, control, data, form, instruction, knowledge, meaning, mental stimulus, pattern, perception, and representation. Data_sentence_43

Beynon-Davies uses the concept of a sign to differentiate between data and information; data are a series of symbols, while information occurs when the symbols are used to refer to something. Data_sentence_44

Before the development of computing devices and machines, people had to manually collect data and impose patterns on it. Data_sentence_45

Since the development of computing devices and machines, these devices can also collect data. Data_sentence_46

In the 2010s, computers are widely used in many fields to collect data and sort or process it, in disciplines ranging from marketing, analysis of social services usage by citizens to scientific research. Data_sentence_47

These patterns in data are seen as information which can be used to enhance knowledge. Data_sentence_48

These patterns may be interpreted as "truth" (though "truth" can be a subjective concept), and may be authorized as aesthetic and ethical criteria in some disciplines or cultures. Data_sentence_49

Events that leave behind perceivable physical or virtual remains can be traced back through data. Data_sentence_50

Marks are no longer considered data once the link between the mark and observation is broken. Data_sentence_51

Mechanical computing devices are classified according to the means by which they represent data. Data_sentence_52

An analog computer represents a datum as a voltage, distance, position, or other physical quantity. Data_sentence_53

A digital computer represents a piece of data as a sequence of symbols drawn from a fixed alphabet. Data_sentence_54

The most common digital computers use a binary alphabet, that is, an alphabet of two characters, typically denoted "0" and "1". Data_sentence_55

More familiar representations, such as numbers or letters, are then constructed from the binary alphabet. Data_sentence_56

Some special forms of data are distinguished. Data_sentence_57

A computer program is a collection of data, which can be interpreted as instructions. Data_sentence_58

Most computer languages make a distinction between programs and the other data on which programs operate, but in some languages, notably Lisp and similar languages, programs are essentially indistinguishable from other data. Data_sentence_59

It is also useful to distinguish metadata, that is, a description of other data. Data_sentence_60

A similar yet earlier term for metadata is "ancillary data." Data_sentence_61

The prototypical example of metadata is the library catalog, which is a description of the contents of books. Data_sentence_62

Data documents Data_section_2

Whenever data needs to be registered, data exists in the form of a data documents. Data_sentence_63

Kinds of data documents include: Data_sentence_64


  • data repositoryData_item_0_0
  • data studyData_item_0_1
  • data setData_item_0_2
  • softwareData_item_0_3
  • data paperData_item_0_4
  • databaseData_item_0_5
  • data handbookData_item_0_6
  • data journalData_item_0_7

Some of these data documents (data repositories, data studies, data sets and software) are indexed in Data Citation Indexes, while data papers are indexed in traditional bibliographic databases, e.g., Science Citation Index. Data_sentence_65

See further. Data_sentence_66

Data collection Data_section_3

Gathering data can be accomplished through a primary source (the researcher is the first person to obtain the data) or a secondary source (the researcher obtains the data that has already been collected by other sources, such as data disseminated in a scientific journal). Data_sentence_67

Data analysis methodologies vary and include data triangulation and data percolation. Data_sentence_68

The latter offers an articulate method of collecting, classifying and analyzing data using five possible angles of analysis (at least three) in order to maximize the research's objectivity and permit an understanding of the phenomena under investigation as complete as possible: qualitative and quantitative methods, literature reviews (including scholarly articles), interviews with experts, and computer simulation. Data_sentence_69

The data are thereafter "percolated" using a series of pre-determined steps so as to extract the most relevant information. Data_sentence_70

In other fields Data_section_4

Although data are also increasingly used in other fields, it has been suggested that the highly interpretive nature of them might be at odds with the ethos of data as "given". Data_sentence_71

Peter Checkland introduced the term capta (from the Latin capere, “to take”) to distinguish between an immense number of possible data and a sub-set of them, to which attention is oriented. Data_sentence_72

Johanna Drucker has argued that since the humanities affirm knowledge production as "situated, partial, and constitutive," using data may introduce assumptions that are counterproductive, for example that phenomena are discrete or are observer-independent. Data_sentence_73

The term capta, which emphasizes the act of observation as constitutive, is offered as an alternative to data for visual representations in the humanities. Data_sentence_74

See also Data_section_5

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