Cover by Savas Parastatidis, Jim Webber, Ian Robinson

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Structure and Representation of Information

Throughout this chapter, we distinguish between the structure and representation of information. While the former is about the relationship between the different information pieces that make up the details of a document, concept, or business entity, the latter is about choices in representing that information. The choice of representation might have a significant impact on our ability to share the information in an interoperable manner.

Data, Information, Knowledge

The terms data, information, and knowledge are often encountered in discussions related to semantics. Here we’ll explain what we mean by these terms. Though you may find them used differently elsewhere, we’ve tried to align ourselves with more popular definitions.[120]

We use the term data to refer to the raw, uninterpreted bits that make up a business entity (e.g., an invoice, a receipt, the customer details).[121] We call information the interpretation of data within the context of a particular application domain (e.g., the contents of the <milk> element in a Restbucks order when interpreted as a customer’s choice of milk). Finally, knowledge represents our understanding of a domain after we collect, analyze, and reason over the available data and information.

The result of this reasoning is a set of information facts—knowledge—that we can use to make business decisions. Knowledge can be explicitly recorded, or it can be inferred, or probabilistically assumed, based on analysis ...

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