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Database

Data and information


An information system is a combination of computer hardware and software that is designed to create, store, process and present information. In today’s world, the amounts of data that are held within information systems are vast, and continue to increase as the processing power and storage capacity of computer systems increase year on year.


For example, the information system used by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) stores records on around 40 million drivers and around 30 million vehicles in the UK!


The heart of all information systems is a database. Before looking at databases in more detail, let’s review what we mean by data and information.


Data is the name given to the words and numbers entered into a database in their raw format.

Data are raw, unprocessed facts and figures. Data are collected, stored and processed by computers. Here are some examples of data:


•             368
•             HR101FE
•             010468
•             Baker
•             25168.

Data on its own is not very meaningful.

Information is the name given to what we retrieve from the database, usually viewed on a monitor, or in a report output from the printer, with headings indicating what the data is.  Information is more meaningful, as we can make sense of the data from the way it is laid out and what is included.

Information is processed data with structure or meaning. Information is useful to humans. Examples are:

•             Age: 36 years 8 months
•             Post Code: HR10 1FE
•             Date of Birth: 01/04/68
•            Occupation: Baker
•            Total Spent: £251.68.

Click here to test your knowledge about data and information.


 

 



 

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