RE: Data vs. Information

  • From: "Goulet, Richard" <Richard.Goulet@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <chet.justice@xxxxxxxxx>, "oracle-l" <oracle-l@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 8 Sep 2009 11:53:51 -0400

    I believe from the replies that you've gotten you can surmise that
your right.  The database stores data that when taken with other data
adds up to information.  Let me illustrate with an example:
    Many years ago I was working with a database that stored data from
Automatic Test Equipment.  One of those testers was part of a machine
called TET for Test, Encapsulate & Retest.  This was a fairly large
machine with a belt that held 400 modules that the factory produced.
The first machine was a functional tester to weed out the modules that
were dead on arrival.  When all of the testers and the encapsulating
machine were done the belt would index forward one position for the next
module in the line.  Part of the machines data points was the date &
time that a test was performed.  That we can call a data point.  I was
given a task to tell the engineers how long it took from the start of
one test to the next.  Pretty simple, take the test time from one test
and subtract it from the next giving you the delta.  Now graph that &
bingo you now have information from the last day's runs.  Now add to
that the count of modules that tested in each hour & you have a graph of
the machine's throuput for a day.  Again information that in this case
caused a number of people to loose their jobs because the throuput from
11:30 in the evening till 6AM in the morning was zero.  True information
that the data points did not portray by their lonesome.

Dick Goulet 
Senior Oracle DBA/NA Team Lead 
PAREXEL International 



From: oracle-l-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:oracle-l-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of chet justice
Sent: Saturday, September 05, 2009 12:37 AM
To: oracle-l
Subject: Data vs. Information

I recently tried to make a case for views
<> , in the last
line of the post I wrote:

        Records in a table typically constitute data. Tables, joined
together, in a view, tend to turn that data into information.

A very good friend and mentor who has like 27 masters degrees took
umbrage with this statement.  He said that data is information.

While I don't necessarily disagree with him, I tried to frame it in the
context of a database.  I've always been told, or read, or heard, that a
database stores data and from that, you get information (in the form of
queries, reports, etc).

Am I off my rocker here?  Am I misinformed?  Or just misspeak?

More than anything I think it was more of a theoretical discussion, but
I have enough respect for this individual to give it further thought?

Anyone have an opinion or links on the subject?


chet justice

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