Re: In an RDBMS, what does "Data" mean?

From: Mike Nicewarner <>
Date: Fri, 14 May 2004 12:12:50 -0500
Message-ID: <c82ulk$gcl$>

I agree that Data is defined as facts and that the facts could be encoded in some way. However, information is simply defined as data in context. For instance, a value of data could be 12. 12 by itself is data, but it lacks meaning until you put it in context to say it is a specific baby's weight at 1 year, taken at the doctor's office on a specific date. Then, the date in the context becomes information that can be used. Much of the data in a database is in a very limited and incomplete context, and is incorrectly called information, because of business assumptions about the missing context.

My 2.5 cents. :-)

Mike Nicewarner [TeamSybase]
Sybase product enhancement requests:

"Anthony W. Youngman" <> wrote in message

> In relational theory, everyone seems to be talking about modelling
> "data", but I've never seen an explanation of what "data" is. As far as
> I can tell, C&D took this philosophical concept of "data", and then
> built their relational theory on top of it. That's okay. We have a
> (fairly) simple, consistent model. But what the heck IS data?
> Okay. Let's explain where I'm coming from. You've seen me going on about
> "evidence" and "science" etc etc. So I'm going to drag science into
> this, Newtonian Mechanics, to be precise (of course).
> Newton came up with these philosophical concepts called "mass",
> "energy", "space" and "time". On these, he built his (fairly) simple
> consistent model. And then Einstein came along and said he'd got his
> fundamentals wrong - mass and energy were the same thing, and space and
> time were the same thing. And because Newton didn't take the fact that
> these things were interchangeable, his model didn't work when compared
> to reality.
> Okay. So what is "data". Because if we can't anchor that in the real
> world, we have no way of knowing if, or how strongly, relational theory
> is relevant (and usable) in the real world.
> Cheers,
> Wol
> --
> Anthony W. Youngman - wol at thewolery dot demon dot co dot uk
> HEX wondered how much he should tell the Wizards. He felt it would not be
> good idea to burden them with too much input. Hex always thought of his
> as Lies-to-People.
> The Science of Discworld : (c) Terry Pratchett 1999
Received on Fri May 14 2004 - 19:12:50 CEST

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