Real world Example of Data Information and Knowledge
This example uses a bank savings account to show how data, information
and knowledge relate to the principal, interest rate and interest.
Data: The numbers 100 or 5%, completely out of context, are just pieces of data. Interest, principal, and interest rate, out of context, are not much more than data as each has multiple meanings which are context dependent.
Information: If I establish a bank savings account as the basis for context, then interest, principal, and interest rate become meaningful in that context with specific interpretations. Principal is the amount of money, $100, in the savings account. Interest rate, 5%, is the factor used by the bank to compute interest on the principal.
Knowledge: If I put $100 in my savings account, and the bank pays 5% interest yearly, then at the end of one year the bank will compute the interest of $5 and add it to my principal and I will have $105 in the bank. This pattern represents knowledge, which, when I understand it, allows me to understand how the pattern will evolve over time and the results it will produce. In understanding the pattern, I know and what I know is knowledge.
Source: Bellinger, G., “Knowledge Management – Emerging Perspectives”, http://systems-thinking.org/kmgmt/kmgmt.htm> (2004)