Tag Archives: DIKW

Data, Information, Knowledge Visualization

Recently I’ve been reading up on the Data, Information, Knowledge, (Wisdom) or DIKW typology as a way for thinking about how journalists produce journalism. I’m not going to touch “wisdom” with a 10 foot pole, as there’s a fair bit of wrangling even over the data, information, and knowledge facets. Oftentimes it’s discussed as a “hierarchy” and depicted as a pyramid; David McCandless even produced such a diagram. But a pyramid is the wrong visual (what is the width of the pyramid even mapped to? is there less knowledge than data?).

Data are numerical entities or readily verifiable facts. Information is about adding relationships between elements of data. Knowledge emerges when humans interpret, analyze, and judge information, and can be used to inform or to help drive decision making (Taylor, 1986). As Kovach and Rosenstiel persuasively argue, news gathering organizations are but venues for the accumulation and synthesis of knowledge (usually about a particular community) that makes that knowledge available to the public; journalists are the agents of this knowledge generation.

Here’s my attempt at visualizing this concept: