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What is the difference between Knowledge and Information?

Knowledge consists of facts, truths, and beliefs, perspectives and concepts, judgments and expectations, methodologies and know-how. Knowledge is accumulated and integrated and held over time to handle specific situations and challenges.

Information consists of facts and data organized to describe a particular situation or condition. We use knowledge to determine what a specific situation means. Knowledge is applied to interpret information about the situation and to decide how to handle it.

Difference between Information & Knowledge

To illustrate the difference between information and knowledge, let us take an example. A customer contacts his broker to conduct a transaction and the distinctions between information and knowledge for this interchange are:

Customer: "I have an account with you, its number is 76190. What is the balance in my account?" (This is INFORMATION)

The customer-care executive possesses KNOWLEDGE on how to operate her worksation, how to talk to customer, how to verify that caller is authorized person, how to interpret customer request, how to interpret account data, and how to explain it to customer. That knowledge may be considered "How-to" knowledge. In addition, the executive possesses (or can obtain from others or from support systems) other kinds of knowledge such as concepts about customers, customer accounts, and brokerage in general. The exective obtains from her system INFORMATION such as: Account holder’s name, needed password, type of account, account restrictions, account balances.

The above is a practical example of difference between information and knowledge. Today’s view about knowledge is changing. Knowledge is not something that is stored in the brain. Knowledge is created in a situation, and is never again used in exactly the same way. This is called "situatedness" or "situated action". As an example; Think about a ballet dancer dancing on stage. There is no symbolic knowledge about the dance stored in the brain of the dancer. It is created while dancing, listening to the music, feeling the music, and the audience. It will never be that same dance again. We can represent knowledge as information (i.e symbols), but that is *not* the same as knowledge. Knowledge is fluid, tacit, and forever changing. We cannot recall knowledge, as we can recall information, we can only experience a situation as similar and react to it in a similar way. A knowledge-based system does not contain knowledge, it represents knowledge as information that can be applied dynamically by the system.

Knowledge vs Information

Information is static; knowledge is information in "knowledge representation" form (conceptual model, objects, frames, constraints, cases, rules, graphs, etc) and different kind of reasoning (decision making, learning, etc). Knowledge has an environment and can be shared (information to, but only data). Knowledge management includes also organisation, strategy, "corporate" decision, and "corporate model".

Information is not knowledge until and unless it is applied effectively.

Information vs Knowledge vs Wisdom

  • "Information" is "raw", i.e. un-acted upon by any receiver;
  • "Knowledge" is information acted upon cognitively, i.e. transformed into some conceptual framework and hence manipulable and usable for other cognitive uses;
  • "Wisdom" is applied knowledge, i.e. knowledge along with the common (or uncommon) sense to know when and how to use it.

The interesting distinction is between knowledge and wisdom. By this notion, "knowledge" connotes a solitary action, capable of being taken in the abstract by any one individual. The addition of wisdom implies the addition of experience. Experience is a cumulative matter; it may refer to an individual’s own experience, or to the collective experience of more than one individual.

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