What is Data?
From Latin datum (“what is given”), a data is a document, an information or a testimony that allows to reach the knowledge of something or deduce the legitimate consequences of a fact. For example: “We have discovered the killer thanks to the data provided by a witness“.
It is important to note that the data does not make sense in itself, but is used in decision-making or in performing calculations based on proper processing and taking into account its context. Typically, the data is a symbolic representation or attribute of an entity.
In this sense it is interesting that we make known the existence of what is known as a database. This is a term used to refer to the set of information that has been collected on a given subject matter and can be used by several people.
It is important to emphasize, in addition to all the above, that throughout the world geography there are a number of countries that use the term data with another meaning. In particular, these are nations of the East who, when they talk about data, are referring to a title of high esteem and dignity.
Nor can we ignore the existence of a particularly important concept at the moment in our society. We are referring to what is known as data protection. This expression speaks of a system, of a legal type, by which it prevents the personal data of citizens who are held by any of the bodies of the Public Administration from being disclosed, that is, that the barrier of confidentiality with them.
So important is this fact that today in Spain there is what is known as the Spanish Data Protection Agency. In general, its basic function is to ensure at all times the compliance with the law that exists in this matter. However, it is also also responsible for dealing with citizens’ complaints, exercising sanctioning power striving or establishing certain safety guidelines and recommendations.
For computing, data is general expressions that describe characteristics of the entities on which algorithms operate. These expressions must be presented in a certain way so that they can be treated by a computer. In this case, the data alone does not constitute information, but it arises from the proper processing of the data.
Database is known as the set of data belonging to the same context and systematically stored so that it can be used in the future. These databases can be static (when stored data does not vary despite the passage of time) or dynamic (data is modified over time; these databases therefore require periodic updates).