Re: It don't mean a thing ...

From: mAsterdam <>
Date: Wed, 02 Jun 2004 15:36:47 +0200
Message-ID: <40bdd7e5$0$560$>

mountain man wrote:

> mAsterdam wrote:
> ...[trimmed]....

>>>>>>        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.
>>>>>>Does it have a source?
>>>>>>Is it bad?
>>mountain man wrote:
>>>>>The word "meaning" is critical here.  Meaning to whom?
>>>>>I'd probably guess that this meaning is with respect to
>>>>>the organization which has assembled the data, the systems,
>>>>>the users, etc.  So using this ...
>>>>>IMO the statement is accurate, but should be
>>>>>generalised further: data on its own not only has
>>>>>no meaning but is absolutely useless without the
>>>>>corresponding application layer by which it is
>>>>>constantly maintained.
>>>>Is it bits & bytes? Does, in your view, shared data
>>>>constitute, by definiton, information?
>>>What we call data is stored by the OS on the HW
>>>by the RDBMS as bits and bytes.
>>So, Newton had no data you (plural) can speak of.
>>What did he have?

> Enter Newton, stage right. ?
> OK, well Newton has his ideas and intelligence and other
> human faculties and perceptions, but he did not have
> any computer data processing system or database.
> He had no computerised data.

I think he had data. Do you?

>>The emergence of bit and bytes changed
>>the way we can handle data (meaningful data,
>>of course - sigh - should I add this everey
>>time I use the word data? - I'ld rather not).
>>When we handle data them with computers we
>>can say computer data, most of the time that
>>is a little overly specific so we simply say data.
>>Should the definition of data change because
>>of this change in the way we handle them?
>>For what purpose?

> I am not sure what you are saying.

I apologize if I made you guess what I was asking. I think you did get my question right, because you proceed to answer it (not giving an answer I agree with - but that is another issue :-)

> Data is not the
> same as it was 100 years ago, today it is managed
> within a computer system. 100 years ago it may
> have been managed by a quill, ink and paper scrolls.

In short: the stuff is managed differently so you need to redefine it?

>>>Those in this forum who like to think that the data is of
>>>meaning and use (to an organisation) without the application
>>>layer should sit in an organisation alongside the database
>>>and ask themselves how the needs of that organisation
>>>with respect to the data are going to be met without the
>>>application layer.
>>I like to think that data is of meaning and use with
>>and without computers.

> Philosophically, the data in the external world that is
> relevant to an organization's processes will be represented
> within the organization's database. In this sense it will
> always have use and meaning without computers.

Practically, yes.

> But is we restrict consideration only to the computerised
> data (hey, business is business) then for how many days
> will this data (database) be meaningful and useful without
> being maintained by the system?

There is an important difference
between meaning and use.

Say we currently have a validated statement about the exchange rate of some stock at some recent time.

  1. It does not matter to the meaning where/how this statement is represented. We have it.
  2. To the use of it it is important where/how it is represented, and available to relevant actors.
  3. Twenty years later the meaning of this statement is still the same.
  4. Twenty years later most of its usefullness will probably have gone.
Received on Wed Jun 02 2004 - 15:36:47 CEST

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