data

(1) In computing, data is information that has been translated into a form that is more convenient to move or process. Relative to today's computers and transmission media, data is information converted into binary digital form.

2) In computer component interconnection and network communication, data is often distinguished from "control information," "control bits," and similar terms to identify the main content of a transmission unit.

3) In telecommunications, data sometimes means digital-encoded information to distinguish it from analog-encoded information such as conventional telephone voice calls. In general, "analog" or voice transmission requires a dedicated continual connection for the duration of a related series of transmissions. Data transmission can often be sent with intermittent connections in packets that arrive in piecemeal fashion.

4) Generally and in science, data is a gathered body of facts.

Some authorities and publishers, cognizant of the word's Latin origin and as the plural form of "datum," use plural verb forms with "data". Others take the view that since "datum" is rarely used, it is more natural to treat "data" as a singular form.

This was last updated in November 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse
View the next item in this Essential Guide: big data management or view the full guide: Enterprise records management strategy guide for GRC professionals

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