This website covers knowledge management, personal effectiveness, theory of constraints, amongst other topics. Opinions expressed here are strictly those of the owner, Jack Vinson, and those of the commenters.

Data, information, ... redux

Information | Tokyo International ForumTwo quotes came to mind recently.

  1. Metadata is the stuff you know. Data is the stuff you are looking for. -Weinberger 
  2. Information is the answer to the question asked. -Goldratt

In the first quote, David Weinberger was discussing Knowledge at the End of the Information Age from a 2008 talk published on the TVO Big Ideas podcast (TV Ontario). (They just re-published the talk over the end-of-year break.) It's obvious to say, but in the context of his talk, what you know helps you find what you are looking for. And on the internet, all of that has been (or could be) published and findable, so you can "know" many different things about a thing and still be able to get to it (author, quote, location, etc).

I really like how this links to the other quote, which is a classic from Eli Goldratt, the founder of Theory of Constraints. I think Goldratt was working from a different perspective, but they are still connected. Data is all the stuff you could retrieve from the system under study, but it isn't useful (information) unless you have questions that require the data.  

[Photo: "Information | Tokyo International Forum" by jamesjustin]

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