What is the difference between information and data?

I was taught that information is useful data. The point is there are lots of data (plural of datum) everywhere, and most of the data will not be useful to a decision maker. Only after the data have been sorted and the relevant portions presented to a decision maker will the data become information.

While that is the distinction that I learned many years ago, I believe that most people use the terms information and data interchangeably. In other words, one person might say data processing and another might say information processing, and both could be referring to the same thing.

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