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Re: [xml-dev] What is Data?

Peter Hunsberger wrote:
>>> Data is information that lacks context.
>> Or data is information fragmented to optimize logical processing, rather
>> than assembled for human comprehension.
> What do humans have to do with any of this?

I think it's because humans comprehend and share information in ways 
that look little like the pathways we describe for computers.  I'm not 
even talking about "knowledge", just information.

I recognize that an entire industry rests on believing that the 
'information' computers produce is equivalent to 'information' as humans 
have described it in the past.  I just don't believe that equivalence is 

> I'm actually being somewhat serious here.  I often try to get the
> people new to data modelling to think more "meta" by breaking it down
> as:
> - Information is data in context;
> - Data can be local or global, private or shared, transient or
> persistent, typed or untyped.  Anything that puts any constraints on
> any of these dimensions is some form of context.
> - One persons information is another persons data (substitute process
> for person as needed).
> One can also play with "Knowledge is information in context" and
> iterate, but that starts to devolve into debates on AI or metaphysics
> (depending on the audience) if you're not careful...

If your people think like computers, or in this case, prefer to think 
that they do, this description is great.  If I spend too much time 
programming, everything looks like a programming construct.  Step back, 
though, and it's clear that I've just spent too much time talking with 

Simon St.Laurent

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