Mar 13, 2016
United Arab Emirates
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Raw data, i.e. unprocessed data, is a collection of numbers, characters; data processing commonly occurs by stages, and the “processed data” from one stage may be considered the “raw data” of the next. Field data is raw data that is collected in an uncontrolled in situ environment. Experimental data is data that is generated within the context of a scientific investigation by observation and recording.
The word “data” used to be considered the plural of “datum”, and still is by some English speakers. Nowadays, though, “data” is most commonly used in the singular, as a mass noun (like “information”, “sand” or “rain”).
That is to say, data is the least abstract, information the next least, and knowledge the most. Data becomes information by interpretation; e.g., the height of Mt. Everest is generally considered “data”, a book on Mt. Everest geological characteristics may be considered “information”, and a report containing practical information on the best way to reach Mt. Everest’s peak may be considered “knowledge”.
‘Information’ bears a diversity of meanings that ranges from everyday to technical. 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.
Beynon-Davies uses the concept of a sign to differentiate between data and information; data is a series of symbols, while information occurs when the symbols are used to refer to something.
It is people and computers who collect data and impose patterns on it. These patterns are seen as information which can be used to enhance knowledge. These patterns can be interpreted as truth, and are authorized as aesthetic and ethical criteria. Events that leave behind perceivable physical or virtual remains can be traced back through data. Marks are no longer considered data once the link between the mark and observation is broken.
Mechanical computing devices are classified according to the means by which they represent data. An analog computer represents a datum as a voltage, distance, position, or other physical quantity. A digital computer represents a piece of data as a sequence of symbols drawn from a fixed alphabet. The most common digital computers use a binary alphabet, that is, an alphabet of two characters, typically denoted “0” and “1”. More familiar representations, such as numbers or letters, are then constructed from the binary alphabet.
Some special forms of data are distinguished. A computer program is a collection of data, which can be interpreted as instructions. 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. It is also useful to distinguish metadata, that is, a description of other data. A similar yet earlier term for metadata is “ancillary data.” The prototypical example of metadata is the library catalog, which is a description of the contents of books.
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