What then is knowledge? And what is information? How is knowledge different from information?
Information is organized, systematized data. And what are data? Data are statements about reality or about other data. They are representations about the world – be it physical, social, psychological, organizational, or any other form of reality.
Data becomes information when they are organized according to certain preferences and placed in a context, which defines their meaning and relevance. Information is meaningful, contextualized data, but not yet knowledge. It is clear that as compared to information which is an objectification, knowledge involves subject formation.
Information can become knowledge when a human being interacts with it, appropriates it and makes it her/his own, contextualizes it by placing it in relation to other knowledge that are already her/his own, and internalizes it by making it a part of his belief system.
Knowledge, then, is people-based. Its information that has been processed, analyzed, distilled and packaged by the human mind.
Information is not knowledge. That became painfully clear during the Information Age when organizations invested heavily in information technology only to find themselves drowning in vast in-house caches of meaningless and unused data. Now they are inundated externally with even more mega-tons of information, unfiltered on-line. Organizations that do not understand the difference between knowledge and information will fall once again into the technology trap.