Data and Information

Data and Information

Using the attached articles and others, Compare and contrast the concepts of data and information in a paper. Investigate the important components of each concept to assess the differences and similarities between the two. Report a minimum of three examples from the literature to demonstrate the utilization of each of these terms.

For example, organizational informational systems may indicate the differences between the two concepts. HR functions may also demonstrate the differences or similarities. Review recent research articles and applications that evaluate these components. For example, assessing human resource information systems may reveal how data and information are utilized by managers.

ecords  and  information
management (RIM) profes-
sionals manage their orga-
nization’s   records   and
information,  regardless  of
their format or the media on
which they are written.
Most RIM programs have a good
handle  on  how  to  manage  paper
records and information. However,
managing  content  in  a  relational
database, or
structured data
, is more
challenging.  This  content  is  con-
tained in data fields within tables,
and those tables are often joined. If
content is removed without regard
for the relationships between tables,
the context of the transaction that
was being documented is lost, and
the official record is affected.
A Record Defined
The international RM standard
Information and Docu-
mentation – Records Management –
Part I: General
gives the following
definition for a record: “Information
created, received, and maintained as
evidence and information by an or-
ganization or person, in pursuance
of legal obligations or in the trans-
action of business.”
Paper Records
In the example below, the
content is considered a record of a
transaction  Company  XYZ  con-
ducted  with  an  outside  vendor  to
order a desk:
The  marketing  department  of
Company XYZ created a paper pur-
chase order with the unique identi-
fying number 12345 for a desk.
The purchase order went to man-
agement for approval.
Management approved the pur-
chase order.
Vendor  received  the  purchase
order  and  shipped  the  desk  to
Company XYZ.
The shipping receipt referencing
purchase  order  12345  was  re-
ceived with the desk.
Structured Data Elements:
Are They
Kelly Hamilton, CRM
The accounting department re-
ceived an invoice referencing pur-
chase order 12345.
Accounting paid the vendor and
kept a copy of the check referenc-
ing the purchase order number.
After the transaction was com-
pleted, the accounting department
kept the paper copies of the pur-
chase order, shipping receipt, vendor
invoice,  check,  and  vendor  corre-
spondence in the same folder. This
constituted the record of the trans-
Unstructured Data
Had this order been transacted
electronically, the various steps above
may have resulted in
unstructured in-
, such as that found in word
processing  documents,  e-mail,  and
image files, to be managed. The elec-
tronic folder structure might look like
Figure 1. It shows a folder within a
drive  that  contains  the  electronic
equivalent of the information found
in the paper folder. This electronic
folder content constitutes the record
of the transaction.
Structured Data
Databases  contain  information
that can also be considered to be part
of a record. This type of information,
called structured data, contains in-
formation in logical elements within
tables. Referencing the above exam-
ple, the database might contain the
tables in Figures 2 and 3.
Figure 2 represents a simplified
version of how tables might be con-
nected in a database that contains
the same information found within
the  paper  or  unstructured  docu-
ments of the desk order transaction.
In this instance, each table is linked
to at least one other table, and the
Purchase_ Order table is linked to
every other table.
Each  table  comprises  several
fields. For instance, the Purchase_
Order table comprises six fields:
1. ID = The purchase order number
Figure 1: Folder containing unstructured information documenting a transaction
Figure 2: The relationships between structured data tables documenting a transaction
Figure 3: In this purchase order table, the fields are the columns; the row is one table
record (but not as defined by ISO 15489). Each value in the row is called an element.
2. Item ID = The ID number of
the item (e.g., the desk)
3. Vendor ID = The ID number of
the  vendor  from  whom  the
item was ordered
4. Person ordering = The individ-
ual  at  Company  XYZ  who
placed the order
5. Management digital signature
= The approval given by man-
agement  for  the  purchase
6. Date sent to vendor = The date
the  purchase  order  informa-
tion was sent to the vendor
Figure 3 is an example from the
Purchase_Order  table.  The  fields
can  also  be  thought  of  as  the
columns of a table. Each table con-
sists of rows, which in a database
table can be called “records.” (But in
this context, the word record does
not have the same meaning as de-
fined by ISO15489-1.) Each value in
the row is called an element.
Figure 3 shows that the same in-
formation contained within a paper
purchase order or a purchase order
in .pdf format can be found in the
Purchase_Order table.

As workers have gained access to more powerful technology, become savvy and independent in
using it, and begun interfacing with external services, IT involvement with processing and
managing the information being created has significantly decreased. But, with electronically stored
information under intense scrutiny by courts and regulators, IT must now focus on ensuring
the organization’s ability to produce records and information that are authentic and reliable.
Patrick Cunningham, CRM, CIP, FAI
bout 20 years ago, the fundamental relationship be-
tween information technology (IT) and the end user
shifted irrevocably. The personal computer became a
part of most office workers’ lives, and the ability of the
end user to customize and personalize their comput-
ing experience began.
Prior to the early 1990s, the personal computer, as a nov-
elty to IT, did not have an impact on strategy or operations.
IT guarded the big computer systems, and end users settled
for masses of green bar
reports in order to con-
sume information. The
data was protected be-
hind locked doors. Com-
puter  programs  were
changed  carefully  and
evolved slowly. There was
no question about the reliability and authenticity of the data
and the reports coming from IT.
Changing Dynamics = Changing Focus
Today, an entire generation of office workers knows lit-
tle or nothing about how the office functioned before e-mail
or before the personal computer. A new generation of work-
ers has always had the Internet at their fingertips. The 9-
to-5 office job is a thing of the past. People answer e-mails
at all hours; they interface with co-workers on different
continents. They carry their information on their hips and
are expected to be responsive to the needs of their job wher-
ever they are and regardless of what they are doing. In
exchange,  workers demand access to needed information
and the ability to customize their experience of that  infor-
At the same time, the tools the end user has have be-
come far more powerful than ever before. Savvy users can
create a database and manipulate data. They can create
interfaces into corporate databases, saving themselves
time and effort to update information. They can input in-
formation from a mobile device – placing an order, re-
questing service, or signing a business deal – right from
their office, a coffee shop, or the front seat of their truck.
In addition, the end user is now not solely interfacing
with the company’s IT resources – they may be entering
data into a system managed by an IT outsourcer or by a
third party contracted to provide a specific IT service. In-
creasingly, IT has little to do with directly processing and
managing an organization’s information.
The dynamics have changed; the requirements have
changed; the technology has changed. At the same time,
the need to ensure that the information is reliable and au-
thentic has never been higher. Events in which data was
improperly and illegally manipulated have driven the re-
quirements for ensuring data integrity. New laws and reg-
ulations have been enacted because of these events and have
placed a higher burden on organizations to ensure their IT
systems are reliable and their data is authentic. Likewise,
the courts have increased their scrutiny of electronically
stored information (ESI) and raised the bar on the thresh-
olds required of evidence.
All of these changes cumulatively have altered the man-
ner in which IT operates – increasing the need for controls
and audits to validate the reliability and authenticity of in-
formation in the enterprise.
Provides a Key Tool
The Generally Accepted Recordkeeping Principles
) help the enterprise speak about records and infor-
mation utilizing a common vocabulary and a general set of
maturity measures to understand where there are opportu-
nities for improving their management.
For IT, a key area of focus is integrity. The GARP
ciple of Integrity states: “A recordkeeping program shall be
constructed so the records and information generated or
managed by or for the organization shall have a reasonable
and suitable guarantee of authenticity and reliability.”
In examining the focal points for IT regarding integrity of
information, two key areas emerge as having the most im-
First, the information itself and the processes that affect
the information have to be trustworthy. However, with more
and more processes moving outside of an organization’s IT
function, the focus for IT moves from developing solutions to
testing processes and results – in other words, the focus is on
quality control.
The second focus is on the importance of
, which
is data about data. Metadata will tell the story about whom
or what touched the data and help ensure the data is au-
thentic and reliable.
Addressing Cloud’s Risks
Every day, for reasons of cost, simplification, or business
optimization,  organizations  choose  to  move  business
processes to third parties. Specialized organizations perform
real estate, security, janitorial, mailroom, and records man-
agement functions, among many other services. IT is in-
creasingly reliant upon third parties to create applications,
run computer systems, or manage an entire IT organization.
In addition, the need for an organization to completely
customize a business process has diminished. Therefore,
adopting a relatively generic business process offered by a
third party and customizing the user experience is what
many organizations do today. Outsourcing or moving to the
cloud (i.e., a shared computing environment that generally
is accessed through the Internet by individual users) means
that the underlying programming and much of the core busi-
ness process are sometimes invisible to the organization.

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