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[′dad·ə, ′dād·ə, or ′däd·ə]
(computer science)
General term for numbers, letters, symbols, and analog quantities that serve as input for computer processing.
Any representations of characters or analog quantities to which meaning, if not information, may be assigned.
(science and technology)
Numerical or qualitative values derived from scientific experiments.


(data, data processing, jargon)
/day't*/ (Or "raw data") Numbers, characters, images, or other method of recording, in a form which can be assessed by a human or (especially) input into a computer, stored and processed there, or transmitted on some digital channel. Computers nearly always represent data in binary.

Data on its own has no meaning, only when interpreted by some kind of data processing system does it take on meaning and become information.

For example, the binary data 01110101 might represent the integer 117 or the ASCII lower case U character or the blue component of a pixel in some video. Which of these it represents is determined by the way it is processed (added, printed, displayed, etc.). Even these numbers, characters or pixels however are still not really information until their context is known, e.g. my bank balance is ?117, there are two Us in "vacuum", you have blue eyes.


(1) Technically, raw facts and figures, such as orders and payments, which are processed into information, such as balance due and quantity on hand. However, in common usage, the terms "data" and "information" are used synonymously. In addition, the term data is really the plural of "datum," which is one item of data. But datum is rarely used, and data is used as both singular and plural in practice.

The amount of data versus information kept in the computer is a tradeoff. Data can be processed into different forms of information, but it takes time to sort and sum transactions. Up-to-date information can provide instant answers.

A common misconception is that software is also data. Software is executed, or run, by the computer. Data are "processed." Thus, software causes the computer to process data.

(2) Any form of information whether on paper or in electronic form. Data may refer to any electronic file no matter what the format: database data, text, images, audio and video. Everything read and written by the computer can be considered data except for instructions in a program that are executed (software).

(3) May refer only to data stored in a database in contrast with text in a word processing document.
References in periodicals archive ?
Meanwhile, latent demand exists in a broad range of academic disciplines where awareness of geospatial tools and resources is lacking, or where there is a perceived barrier to entry in terms of lack of access to tools, data, training, and support.
Evolution of Technical Approaches to Delivering Geospatial Data
The Central Policy/Consolidated Approach to Managing Remote Data
Selecting just one of the definitions is not as important as realizing that people will use the term data mining in at least the four ways described in the sidebar.
With data auditing procedures in place, there is a record of what happened--what data was accessed, when it was changed and how it changed--long before financial reports are issued.
Naturally, data should be protected from general release prior to either publication or authorization from the data submitters, whichever comes first.
A key concept of the road map, of the data strategy and of the data warehouse itself is to store the data once, but use it many times.
Identifying the end users' knowledge level is key to preparing data and generating information.
A common form of missing data is the subject's refusal to answer an item.
Before undertaking these tasks, users can employ i/Lytics' Data Profiling Solution to ensure the accuracy of data mapping specifications.
Select the block of data you want to copy (hold down the left mouse button until all of it is selected, or use SHIFT and the arrow keys).