We’re up to our necks in information, from e-mails, twitter, facebook, websites,
reports, financial results and now…big data!
So how do we consider:
What information do we get that we don’t need?
What information don’t we get that we do need?
In other words, just because we are drowning in information, doesn’t mean that it
is all useful or sufficient.
1.2. Data and information
Since the first edition of this publication the concept of ‘Big Data’ has emerged.
So what’s the connection with information? Well, data is defined as:
Related items of (chiefly numerical) information considered collectively, typically
obtained by scientific work and used for reference, analysis, or calculation
One definition of information is
The imparting of knowledge in general. Knowledge communicated concerning some particular
fact, subject, or event; that of which one is apprised or told; intelligence, news.
Contrasted with data: that which is obtained by the processing of data.
(Definitions from the Oxford Dictionary of English)
Information can therefore be considered as a collection of data processed in a way
so as to communicate knowledge. For example, if you are trying to lose weight, recording
your weight every week and plotting the results on a graph will show how successful
you have been.
Big Data are large databases of data, for example on customers’ buying habits recorded
through the use of loyalty or credit cards. The existence of such large databases
makes the managing of information even more important.
Although information can be derived from data, it may also come from other sources.
For example, while it may take less time to travel from London to Amsterdam by plane
(that’s measurable data), you may prefer to travel by train because it’s easier to
work and relax on the train and you don’t like airport queues (that’s not easily
measurable). We can’t ignore information because it’s not based on data.
1.3. The problems
So much information sent to us that may be useful, or may not. We have to choose
which is which.
Huge amounts of data available but not being used because we don’t know how to access