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Re: [xml-dev] What is Data?

Costello, Roger L. schrieb:

>     4. Is [this definition of data] clear and easy to understand?

I'd like to answer this last question with a clear "no". My feeling is
that this attempt to define "data" is misled, confusing and unnecessary.

"Data" is not an essence or a quality of things: It's a way of looking
at things. You're trying to reify something that is a property of your
observation - not something to be actually observed in the wild.

There's a good saying: One man's data is another man's metadata. That
doesn't even try to define data, but it teaches you a lot about what
data is. There doesn't have to be a formal *rule* or a *system* for
this kind of thing. Commmon sense is enough.

I mean, come on: I'm sure you know pretty well how to tell what data
is when you see some!

>         What is Data?
> xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> When you represent an entity, you've created data.
> When you represent an attribute of an entity, you've created data.
> When you represent a relationship of an entity, you've created data.

> Data represents entities, attributes, and relationships.

That's a specific model that strives to organize data in entities,
attributes, and relationships. Because of the total vagueness of the
terms involved, it may probably be bent to fit whatever you're trying
to make it fit.

>         What's Not Data?
> xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
> The following description of a book is not data, although it contains
> data:
>     In this groundbreaking book, evolutionary
>     biologist Jared Diamond stunningly dismantles
>     racially biased theories of human history by
>     revealing the environmental factors actually
>     responsible for history's broadcast patterns.

Even marxist disinformation is data if you want it to be.

> Data is the plural of datum, a singular item. In practice, however,
> people use data as both the singular and plural form of the word.

Data is plural and has always been plural. Datum is singular and has
always been singular. Occasional abuse does not invalidate Latin

Michael Ludwig

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