Data and Information seem to be very much overlapping terms. We use them a lot. Sometimes we use them for each other. But it all depends on the context of what you are saying, what the meaning of the respective word is. Still, there is a huge difference between both of them.
Difference between Data and Information
Data is the lowest abstract or the rawest form of bits. This is nothing but the simplest form of the unmodified, untampered bits. It can also be referred to as a fact. It is a great point to be noted that data has no meaning. For example, we can consider any random number like 423876 as data.
Whereas, on the other hand, Information is processed data. This means that information is data with meaning. For example, 110011 is a random number but when it is processed as a pin code, it transforms into information.
Talking about Data again, it can never stimulate other people to give a response. This is due to the fact that it is still meaningless.
And, Information, on the other hand, can stimulate other people to give a response. When you say “I spend 40 minutes daily, doing yoga exercises.” Now, in response to that, you can always say about your habits. Hence, information can give a response and data can never do it.
Also, new data is constantly coming up and changing. Hence, it keeps on changing the information that we have. Therefore, if we don’t update the information based on the constant data inputs that we are receiving, it may be proved that the information we had is wrong.
This random data is obtained as a result of recordings or observations made to a particular subject. And finally, this data is processed and converted into information. To convert this data into information, a person has to manually inspect and record all the data and has to derive meaningful information.
For example, in a grocery store, the manager keeps a track of sales of different products throughout the week. What he can observe is that the sales of beer increases on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. This gives him information that he has to keep the stock up to full-on weekends or Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of every week.
Hence, to summarize, here are the key points that highlight the difference between data and information:
- Data is the lowest and the rawest level of knowledge. Whereas information is the second level, above data of knowledge – it is processed data.
- Data is insignificant and on the other hand, information is significant.
- Observations and recordings are done to obtain data and analysis are required to be done to obtain information.
Hope this clarifies things!