2. Data

What do the following examples mean to you?

Data Example
chocolate, strawberry, vanilla, strawberry, vanilla, vanilla, strawberry, vanilla, vanilla
14-05-08, 09-10-08, 21-11-08, 09-09-08, 31-07-08

They probably don't mean a great deal. They appear to be just a random set of words, letters and numbers and that is because they have no context.

Data consists of raw facts and figures - it does not have any meaning until it is processed and given a context.

Data comes in many forms. Although it is generally alphanumeric (text, numbers and symbols) it can also consist of images or sound.