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(1) A material unit representing information about a portion of the real world that can be processed by explicit procedures and maintains its characteristics during repeated use. (2) A fact or figure transcribed in a readable language and on a durable medium (see channel). E.g., a completed questionnaire, a taped interview, the recorded results of an experiment. Events that leave no physical marks cannot be traced through data and physical marks that can no longer be interpreted, e.g., because the code linking them to particular observations is unavailable, loose the status of data. A datum rarely stands alone, hence the common use of its plural data. Science typically processes large collections of data. In statistics each datum or a collection must contain the same kind of information. (Krippendorff)
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