In computing, data is information that has been translated into a form that is more convenient to process. Raw data (unprocessed data) are strings of bits with no meaning. Data can be processed by computers to reveal insights or trends.
Data are often viewed as the building blocks of information, since they can be collected and processed to produce useful information. For example, data about sales can be collected and processed to produce information such as total sales for a company, or average sales per customer. In this sense, data are like raw materials that can be used to create useful information products.
There are many different types of data, including:
• Numeric data: This is data that can be expressed in numbers, such as sales figures or weight. Numeric data can be further classified as being discrete or continuous. Discrete data are values that can only take certain values (such as whole numbers), while continuous data can take any value within a range (such as real numbers).
• Textual data: This is textual information, such as words or sentences. Textual data can be further classified as being unstructured or structured. Unstructured textual data is text that does not have a predefined structure, such as a novel or an email message. Structured textual data is text that has a predefined structure, such as a database record or an XML document.
• Image data: This is image information, such as photographs or drawings