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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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


(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.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (


(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.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Considering the nature of the subjective data, overall, it can be concluded that there is some evidence to argue that the managerial surrogates do a reasonably good job in measuring the efficiency role of firm management in the corruption and productivity process.
It is important to ask individuals to collect subjective data each day in a sleep-wake diary to complement the objective activity data collected from the actigraphs.
However, we assert that subjective data is equally important, for the perception of risk is critical to pedestrians and cyclists and some of this risk may be difficult to ascertain simply through objective measures of the built environment.
Section III describes the data collection methodology, the institutional setup at Northwestern University, and the subjective data in detail.
In their conversion of sociological and subjective data into visual language, these maps do have a certain sensuous, aesthetic vibration (albeit in a kind of reductive digital-painterly manner)--not to mention a utility in identifying the social enclaves inhabited with potential love partners.
All objective and subjective data related to sleep, mood and pain were analysed on the nights after the exercise days.
This paper reports on the objective and subjective data gathered before, during, and after the renovation.
Subjective data from St Mary's Hospital Sleep Questionnaire showed that crocetin tended to improve the quality of sleep compared to sleep before its intake.
Observing those same problems again I assessed the needs of my community by gathering objective and subjective data. The diagnosis was clear; my community was underserved related to lack of funding for education, jobs, health needs of children and the elderly and safety as evidenced by my opponents voting record.
PB Responds: Basically, you're asking us to remove subjective data and replace it with objective data.

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