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ICT

Data, information and knowledge

Changing data into information

A structure is needed in order for data [data: information without context, eg a list of students with numbers beside their names is data, when it's made clear that those numbers represent their placing in a 100 metre race, the data becomes information ] to become information [information: data with context or meaning ]. In the table below the second and third columns contain either 'Yes' or 'No' but without headings there is no meaning.

 

StefYes
JamalYes
AdamYes
KieranYes
DylanYes
SophieNoYes
MaxNoNo

By adding headings, the data becomes information.

 

Student namePresentAbsence authorised
StefYes
JamalYes
AdamYes
KieranYes
DylanYes
SophieNoYes
MaxNoNo
A cashier scanning a barcode

A barcode can be read by barcode scanners

Input devices [input device: a device used to input data or information into a computer, eg a keyboard, mouse, scanner, microphone etc. ] can collect data automatically, eg sensors [sensor: an automatic input device that continuously monitors a set of computer controlled parameters, eg a parking sensor detects how close a vehicle is to the nearest object and alerts the driver if the distance falls outside of the specified parameters ] that continually measure a temperature or a fix-mount barcode reader at a till.

In both of these cases the data collected will be read into a database [database: a structured collection of records or data stored in a computer system ] for processing. With a structure in place (the database) the data becomes information.

Spreadsheets [spreadsheet: A spreadsheet is made up of cells, rows and columns. Each cell holds a piece of numeric (numbers) or alphanumeric (text) data. Cells can also contain formulae to calculate their contents. ] are commonly used to turn data into information.

Back to Data, information and databases index

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