sing. or pl. n. (datum, sing.)Facts, ideas, or discrete pieces of information, especially when in the form originally collected and unanalyzed.


Traditionally a plural noun, data - rather than datum - is now commonly used with a singular verb.Data often is used to refer to information in its most atomized form, as numbers or facts that have not been synthesized or interpreted, such as the initial readings from a gauge or obtained from a survey. In this sense, data is used as the basis of information, the latter distinguished by recognized patterns or meaning in the data. The phrase 'raw data' may be used to distinguish the original data from subsequently 'refined data'.Data is independent of any medium in which it is captured. Data is intangible until it has been recorded in some medium. Even when captured in a document or other form, the content is distinct from the carrier.