Information in DIKW

Second block of the pyramid is “Information”. Previous post about data described how and what constitutes definition of data. In this stage, we are trying to “understand” the characteristics of data as we progress to the next level. A quick and simple term for information would be “data + semantics“.

When you look at atomic data, it can represent anything because we don’t have any meaning attached to it. Let us take an example of the alphabet “F” and from data perspective it can represent anything.

Now, let us add a context to this data i.e. School. In academic context, immediately you will realize that the single alphabet can be associated with grade of a student. Take this same alphabet and let us put another context to it i.e. employees. Here, the same data denotes gender of employees in an organization. Context that we attach to data can also be at different levels. The same alphabet “F” as in previous example, if looked from perspective of “Biology” what can it signify? It can denote gender of an organism and based on source of the data the organism can be plant or animal or mammals (humans included).


Basically, based on the context, information is derived from data. One important item to note here is that, data has not changed at all during our exercise, but the view about data changed based upon the context we looked at.

Another quick example to illustrate the concept with numeric example. I am throwing an arbitrary number “5.Information_29″ in the picture. If you look at the number as-is, it can mean anything at the moment, but if you add a unit of measure say for example 5.9 ft, we get more clarity about the data.


Let us add more meaning to data sequentially and see how the information about atomic data changes at every step. This is illustrated in the image and we get more clarity on the data as and when additional meaning or context is added to it.