Data vs. Information
Why Learn It?
All kinds of information (school
records, credit history, shopping patterns, grocery purchases) are
stored in databases. We interact with databases every day, consciously
or unconsciously. It is important to understand what is stored in
a database and what can be retrieved from it.
If you work in the information
technology industry, it is essential to understand how data is modeled
and stored in a database. If you work in any other industry, you
will most likely have to work with data stored somewhere on a computer
and probably be required to use data in your job to create reports
and/or make decisions.
Data vs. Information
The words "data" and "information" are often
used as if they are synonyms. Nevertheless, they have different
Data: Raw material, from which you can
draw conclusions. Facts from which you can deduce new facts.
Information: Knowledge, intelligence,
a particular piece of data with a special meaning or function. Information
is often the result of combining, comparing, and performing calculations
Whenever a student, teacher, administrator (or
any person using a computer) interacts with a website, pieces of
data are collected. The graphical user interface (GUI) may be unique
to that school or company, but what happens “behind the scenes”?
Think about test scores, for example. In one class,
if every student receives a numbered score, the scores can be calculated
to determine a class average. The class averages can be calculated
to determine the school average. The Oracle database software will
transform recorded/stored data and statistics into useful pieces
Data: Each student’s test score is
one piece of data
Information: The class’ average score, or the school’s
What is a database ?
A centralized and structured set of data stored on a computer system.
The database also provides facilities for retrieving, adding, modifying
and deleting the data when required. The database also provides
facilities for transforming retrieved data into useful information.
A database is usually managed by a Database Administrator (DBA).
Documents, Pictures, Video, Sound
Within most modern databases, you can store and retrieve a wide
variety of data and documents. Inside the database, data is stored
in a “raw” form. When this raw data is queried or
retrieved, it is transformed into more useful output or information.
Question: What does a database have to
do with my everyday life?
Answer: More than you may realize...
A lot of websites that you visit are driven by a database.
If you had one of the jobs listed below,
how might you use a database?
(1) mechanic in an auto-repair shop
(2) taxi driver
(3) landscape gardener
Have you ever returned an item to a store without
What information did you have to provide?
Were you able to return the item?