Chapter 6: What are Data, Information, and Knowledge?

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Ryerson University
Information Technology Management
ITM 102
David Atkinson

CHAPTER 6 WHAT ARE DATA, INFORMATION, AND KNOWLEDGE? • Need data and information when we want it • Data in different forms (i.e. number, text, video, audio) and organized in different ways (i.e. tables, reports, and graphs) THE DATA-INFORMATION-KNOWLEDGE CONTINUUM • Data: raw unorganized facts, numbers, pictures, and so on • Information: data that have been organized and are useful to a person • Knowledge: created when a person combines experience and judgement with information • How business people create and add value to organization • Wisdom: adds insight and ethics to the experience and professional judgement inherent in knowledge • Costs and complexity of tasks to be accomplished increases as you move from pyramid from data to information to knowledge to wisdom • Although technology is a key enabler (assist with collecting, collating, and analyzing data and information), still up to humans to take this data and information and turn it into knowledge and wisdom LIFELONG KNOWLEDGE CREATION • Two types of knowledge are complementary halves of lifelong knowledge • Explicit knowledge: knowledge that is readily codified (i.e. knowledge in textbook) • Tacit knowledge: knowledge gain through experience, insight, and discovery KNOWLEDGE WORK ACTIVITIES • Knowledge work involves the discovery, analysis, transformation, synthesis, and communication of data, information and knowledge DISCOVERY: FINDING DATA, INFORMATION, OR KNOWLEDGE • Discover: finding of data, information and knowledge relevant to a task, problem, issue, or opportunity (the context) • Begin with an idea of what to look for, then retrieve relevant data from various sources and assess it value to the decision at hand ANALYSIS: INVESTIGATING AND EXAMINING THE AVAILABLE DATA, INFORMATION, AND KNOWLEDGE • Analysis: breaking down the whole into more discrete parts to better understand how it works o Process mapping, quality assurance, or performance testing • Once analysis is complete, put it into appropriate organizational context and make a decision or recommendation • Can extend to include consideration of unintended consequences, ethical constraints, or risks so that you safely and quickly put knowledge to use to create sustainable CA – demonstrates wisdom • Two IT that can help answer questions about underlying patterns and correlations across large amounts of data are data warehouses and data mining TRANSFORMATION: ORGANIZING DISCOVERY RESULTS • Transformation: knowledge work that requires you to use the results of your analysis to deepen your understanding of data and information • IT can help transform data regardless of who did the discovery and analysis work • Transforming data into useful forms through use of spreadsheet, begin to make sense of events and issues SYNTHESIS: THE SUM OF THE PARTS • Synthesis: allows you to interpret trends or patterns that seem to explain the past and present, and may suggest courses of action likely to favourably influence the future • Bring information together; knowing which parts, when combined, will create higher total value than value of the parts themselves • Systems can provide summary, but only people have the ability to put this information into proper context and draw conclusions from it COMMUNICATION: SHARING ANALYSIS WITH OTHERS • Communication: ability to share analyses, ideas, and solutions with others • Uses IS and IT to communicate • Steps referred to as work flows and the outcome of efforts as work product • Knowledge work activities are only part of the larger picture of a rational decision- making and problem-solving process DATABASES: THE PRIMARY DATA STORAGE FOR ORGANIZATIONS • Database: consists of interrelated data that are stored in files and organized so computer programs can quickly and easily access specific pieces of data • Database management system (DBMS): collection of software that allows users to create and work with a database • Database and DBMS make up a database system • Database administrators (DBA) create and manage the database THE DATA HIERARCHY • Data hierarchy: organizes stored data in increasing levels of complexity FIELD (lowest level)combination of characters representing a data item (i.e. name or price) • Stores all data using electronic bits that can be 1 (on) or 0 (off) • Specific combination of bits represents each data character • Exact number of bits needed for a character depends on type of data and encoding scheme RECORDS includes fields holding values for FirstName, LastName, Gender, and Age TABLE OR FILE assembles records into a collection DATABASE compiles the organized collection of files • Database system to organize data provides advantages: • Organization of data independent of any one software application • Organization of data reduces data redundancy • DBMS can include features for maintaining quality of data, handling security, and synchronizing access by simultaneous users • Database system allows or capabilities such as improved data access, allowing different views of data for different users, and report generation RELATIONAL DATA MODEL • Relational data model: databases store information about entities and the relationships between those entities • Database then uses defined relationship to store connections between entities • Stores data in one or more tables, corresponding to entities • Tables
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