Records in a table typically constitute data. Tables, joined together, in a view, tend to turn that data into information.That elicited a very, very strong reaction from a good friend and mentor. In the comments he left this
Turn data into information? That doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me-- All data is information. Can you clarify that statement a little?On the face of it, that's not a very strong reaction. He tends to be a lurker though, rarely leaving comments.
Then there was twitter, where he sent me a few more links on the subject.
I'm pretty sure he was fired up.
Once a week or so, we'll get together over beers and have excellent conversations. Occasionally, I'll try to hold my ground from the database perspective. Last week we had a discussion about whether the database should be making web service calls.
Security aside, I thought it was appropriate given the size and skills of the shop, but he and our other friend staunchly disagreed.
Point is, we have some great conversations. It has never come down to "You are stupid!" or anything like that, it's a conversation with each side presenting their arguments.
Since my friend has like 28 degrees in Engineering, I've learned to give him the benefit of the doubt, so I wanted to study up on it.
I asked the oracle-l mailing list on Friday.
My contention, or what I have heard and read, is that a database stores data, only through the use of SQL or some reporting tool, does that data get turned into information. I don't know where I heard or read that for the first time, but I've probably been saying it for years.
Through my friends response and others on the mailing list, I probably need to rethink that particular statement.
Here are some relevant links provided by my friend and others on the oracle-l mailing list:
Principles of Communication Enginnering, By John M. Wozencraft, Irwin Mark Jacobs
Information Theory and Reliable Communication, By Robert G. Gallager
Nuno Suto, aka Noons suggested Fabian Pascal, which can be read here. He also suggested reading up on Chris Date and Ted Codd as well as
Conceptual Schema and Relational Database Design: A Fact Oriented Approach, By G. M. Nijssen, T. A. Halpin
Have you ever used the phrase, "data into information" or some derivation there of? I'd like to track down where I first came across it if possible. Thoughts on Data vs. Information as separate entities?