When we use terms like 'data', 'information' and 'knowledge', how do we understand them. At times we use these terms alternately. How do we define each of these terms?

These days we often say we are moving from the 'information society to knowledge society', and therefore knowledge management is critical to future economy. I can see a good number of experts in this arena. would anyone please explain what exactly happens in the shift from information to knowledge?


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Comment by lesedi bimbo on September 22, 2010 at 4:13pm
Dear Sanat

The term data means raw facts ,figures and findings that do not portray any concrete meaning to the recipient .But when the data are processed and analyzed in a meaningful manner then they become informative and thus information.
Comment by Sanat K Chakraborty on September 14, 2010 at 9:00am
nondlela, I was thinking thus: Data is a standalone unit. When several units (data) are organised, we get information. And once we have information , we decide how we 'package' or 'use' as you have said.
Comment by nondlela ndabezith on September 13, 2010 at 8:55am
The term data refers to groups of information that represent the qualitative or quantitative attributes of a variable or set of variables. Data are typically the results of measurements and can be the basis of graphs, images, or observations of a set of variables, and they are viewed as the lowest level of abstraction from which information and knowledge are derived.
Information is stimuli that has meaning in some context for its receiver and when information is entered into and stored in a computer, it is generally referred to as data. After processing (such as formatting and printing), output data can again be perceived as information.
Knowlwdge is when information is packaged or used for understanding or for doing something.
Comment by Md Santo on August 12, 2010 at 12:59pm

In brief, Data is numerical or symbolic attributes to all physical evidences. Information is the meaning generated from a group of Data. Knowledge on the other hand evolved inside human being as emergent property ( see the K-base http://delicious.com/mobeeknowledge/di-kwmodel ) and acting as human consciousness. The evidence of knowledgeable state showed through our action and performance. In well informed state, no new action and performance could be observed ( http://delicious.com/mobeeknowledge/knowledgeable )

From well informed to knowledgeable state is a matter of learning transfer and learning process. So, what exactly happens in the shift from information society to knowledge society is the evolution of learning process including human learning, organizational learning and even machine learning (IT/ICT) as well, in which all leveraged by using KM as an critical access mechanism ( http://www.scribd.com/doc/28696847/How-to-re-postulating-the-paradi ... and http://mobeeknowledge.ning.com/forum/topics/why-knowledge-managemen... )

Thus, shift from information society to knowledge society marked with prominent KM with learning, growth and innovation as the essence. In my view, I myself convinced that currently we are in the era of evolution of science in which K as well as KM is in boundary toward beyond science domain ( http://mobeeknowledge.ning.com/forum/topics/the-edge-of-scientific - THE EDGE OF SCIENTIFIC BOUNDARY : KNOWLEDGE MANAGEMENT DOMAIN)
Comment by Sanat K Chakraborty on August 12, 2010 at 5:45am
Yes, Nick Milton's factory and pressure rise illustration is interesting, while defining the terms data, information and knowledge.
The wiki discussions were illuminating!
Comment by Tom Zeppenfeldt on August 11, 2010 at 2:37pm
You may want to look at this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sdzUfHwNCVQ in which Nick Milton explains the difference between data, information and knowledge.
Comment by Ewen Le Borgne on August 11, 2010 at 11:02am
Hello Sanat,

There has been an excellent discussion about this on the KM4Dev list some time back (March or so I believe), starting from the DIKW pyramid. Find the summary of the discussion on the KM4Dev wiki: http://wiki.km4dev.org/wiki/index.php/DIKW_model

In particular an intervention by D. Snowden might help here: 'It's the process of abstraction and codification that creates information from data (and requires a shared knowledge base). The knowledge base (common levels of abstraction, understanding of the conventions of codification) are what allows that process to take place... I'm happy if you want to talk about wisdom in the context of judgement (making choices etc. per your text) but that is one aspect there are several others... The whole point is that its not a linear process. You can have two boxes labeled DATA and INFORMATION and a double headed arrow connecting them (as it can go both ways); then a fussy cloud labeled knowledge between them. Wisdom may be the ability not to try to go beyond that. (D. Snowden).'

In other words, knowledge is innate to each individual and it is what allows us to turn data into information. The two major caveats I think are to a) consider knowledge something tangible that can be transferred or captured and b) to think that there is a linear process leading from data to information to knowledge (and even more so to wisdom).

Hope this helps!


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