brainroads-toward-tomorrows mental patterns


pyramid to dna

The distinctions between data, information and knowledge




The context of this page is management


... snip, snip ... Some major newspapers such as The New York Times use it either in the singular or plural.

In the New York Times the phrases “the survey data are still being analyzed” and “the first year for which data is available” have appeared within one day.[10]

In scientific writing data is often treated as a plural, as in These data do not support the conclusions, but it is also used as a singular mass entity like information.

British usage now widely accepts treating data as singular in standard English,[11] including everyday newspaper usage[12] at least in non-scientific use.[13]

UK scientific publishing still prefers treating it as a plural.[14]

Some UK university style guides recommend using data for both singular and plural use[15] and some recommend treating it only as a singular in connection with computers

... snip, snip ...


Meaning of data, information and knowledge

The terms data, information and knowledge are frequently used for overlapping concepts.

The main difference is in the level of abstraction being considered.

Data is the lowest level of abstraction, information is the next level, and finally, knowledge is the highest level among all three.[17] Data on its own carries no meaning.

For data to become information, it must be interpreted and take on a meaning.

For example, the height of Mt. Everest is generally considered as “data", a book on Mt. Everest geological characteristics may be considered as “information", and a report containing practical information on the best way to reach Mt. Everest’s peak may be considered as “knowledge".

Information as a concept bears a diversity of meanings, from everyday usage to technical settings.

Generally speaking, the concept of information is closely related to notions of constraint, communication, control, data, form, instruction, knowledge, meaning, mental stimulus, pattern, perception, and representation.

Beynon-Davies uses the concept of a sign to distinguish between data and information; data are symbols while information occurs when symbols are used to refer to something.[18]

It is people and computers who collect data and impose patterns on it.

These patterns are seen as information which can be used to enhance knowledge.

These patterns can be interpreted as truth, and are authorized as aesthetic and ethical criteria.

Events that leave behind perceivable physical or virtual remains can be traced back through data.

Marks are no longer considered data once the link between the mark and observation is broken

... snip, snip ...



But data is not information.

Information is data endowed with relevance and purpose.

A company must decide what information it needs to operate its affairs, otherwise it will drown in data.

To organize in this way requires a new structure.

Although it is perhaps too early to draw an organization chart of the information-based organization, we can set out some broad considerations. — Managing for the Future

A “database,” no matter how copious, is not information.

It is information’s ore.

For raw material to become information, it must be organized for a task, directed toward specific performance, applied to a decision.

Raw material cannot do that itself.

Nor can information specialists.

They can cajole their customers, the data users.

They can advise, demonstrate, teach.

But they can no more manage data for users than a personnel department can take over the management of the people who work with an executive. — Managing In A Time Of Great Change

Find “information” in Books by Peter Drucker.

bbx Management Challenges for the 21st Century

bbx Managing in the Next Society

From Computer Literacy to Information Literacy


bbx Attention

bbx Dense reading and Dense listening

bbx The Manager and the Moron

bbx Post-Capitalist Society

bbx Information challenges

bbx Try a page search for “information” and then “intelligence” in The Daily Drucker

bbx The Information-Based Organization

bbx From Computer Literacy to Information Literacy

bbx Manage by Walking Around—Outside!

bbx Six Frames For Thinking about Information

bbx Drucker on learning to see (Peter’s Principles)

bbx From Analysis to Perception

bbx Back of the Napkin

bbx Water Logic

bbx Changing Social and Economic Picture

bbx The transformation

bbx Knowledge: Its economics and productivity

bbx Knowledge system view

bbx TLN conceptual resource file listing — topics and books

bbx Organization evolution

bbx Career evolution


Post-Capitalist Society deals with the environment in which human beings live and work and learn.

It does not deal with the person.

But in the knowledge society into which — we are moving, individuals are central.

Knowledge is not impersonal, like money.

Knowledge does not reside in a book, a databank, a software program; they contain only information.

Knowledge is always embodied in a person; carried by a person; created, augmented, or improved by a person; applied by a person; taught and passed on by a person; used or misused by a person.

The shift to the knowledge society therefore puts the person in the center.

In so doing it raises new challenges, new issues, new and quite unprecedented questions about the knowledge society’s representative, the educated person.

See knowledge

List of topics in this Folder


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker

The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure

Managing Oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context




These pages are attention directing tools for navigating a world moving toward unimagined futures.

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working something out in time (1915, 1940, 1970 … 2040 … the outer limit of your concern)nobody is going to do it for you.

It may be a step forward to actively reject something (rather than just passively ignoring) and then figure out a coping plan for what you’ve rejected.

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