What is data?

‘Data’ can be broadly defined as any information that has been reduced to characters, words, numbers, images, sound or video.  Data can be collected to form ‘datasets’, a collection or record of data organised according to a common context or criteria.

Data can be categorised according to the nature of the information it contains: for example, health data, personal data, research data, business data and consumer data.

The amount of data created globally is growing at an exponential rate.  Data can be a major source of value for businesses in an economic sense, and valuable to individuals on privacy grounds.