Using data & information
Here you'll find information to help get across the basics. There's information on:
Why are data and information important?
What if I’m not a "data expert”?
Useful tips for building a good information and data culture
1. Common terms
- Data : Data in its basic form is raw information such as facts or statistics, collected to be examined and used for decision-making e.g. as stored in a spreadsheet, or within a database.
- Information: Information often refers to the insights made from data.
- Closed Data: Closed data is highly restricted and only accessible to its owner or holder e.g. investigation data
- Shared Data: Shared Data is made available to named people or organisations based on terms and conditions e.g. in some cases, medical research
- Open Data: Open Data is available freely to anyone and bears no terms and conditions e.g. a Twitter feed or bus timetable.The Information and Privacy Commission has developed an e-learning course that introduces Open Data in NSW.
- Data analytics: Data analysis refers to the process of manipulating data in different ways with the goal of discovering insights.
- Visualisation: Visualisation refers to the communication of data in pictorial or graphical format.
- API: An application programming interface (API) refers to standardised method of communication between two or more pieces of software.
- Unit level data: Unit level data refers to the lowest level category type to which the data relates, e.g. a set of data relating individuals or a specific location.
- Aggregate data: Aggregate data refers to data that has been combined and/or de-identified, for example so that it no longer identifies specific individuals or locations.
2. Why are data and information important?
Data and information are key to digital transformation.By thoroughly managing, analysing and using data and information, they become powerful resources that benefit government and the community in significant ways.
By effectively managing data and information you can:
- Know more about your services or where services are needed
- Track your performance
- Inform budget
- Be transparent to the community
- Build knowledge and improvements in your organisation.
3. What if I’m not a "data expert”?
Everyone has a role to play in creating high quality data and information.There are more and more opportunities for people in all roles to use data to improve how they operate. There are also increasing avenues for all staff to learn how they can better create and use data in their daily operations.You don’t need to be a "data expert". Data can also be used in simple but powerful ways, to improve service delivery and outcomes for the community.
4. Useful tips for building a good information and data culture:
- Always know what you and your business are trying to achieve and capture information and data that supports this
- Tools or approaches such as data visualisation or data analytics can help summarise ideas, track projects and demonstrate value or needs
- Clever use of data can generate big insights
- Talk to people across your organisation about how your corporate information and data resources can best be managed and used
- Sharing data and information can provide a transformational resource for others. Ask yourself if other people can benefit from your data and information.
- Be data confident. One of the biggest barriers to effective data sharing is low awareness of the ability and power of data.
- Promote openness. By making your data and information available, you will improve it for your own purposes, and enable innovation for others.