Data system

Data system is a term used to refer to an organized collection of symbols and processes that may be used to operate on such symbols.[1][2] Any organised collection of symbols and symbol-manipulating operations can be considered a data system. Hence, human-speech analysed at the level of phonemes can be considered a data system as can the Incan artefact of the khipu and an image stored as pixels. A data system is defined in terms of some data model and bears a resemblance to the idea of a physical symbol system.

Symbols within some data systems may be persistent or not. Hence, the sounds of human speech are non-persistent symbols because they decay rapidly in air. In contrast, pixels stored on some peripheral storage device are persistent symbols.


In education, a data system is a computer system that aims to provide educators with student data to help solve educational problems.[3] Examples of data systems include Student Information Systems (SISs), assessment systems, Instructional Management Systems (IMSs), and data-warehousing systems, but distinctions between different types of data systems are blurring as these separate systems begin to serve more of the same functions.[4] Data systems that present data to educators in an over-the-counter data format embed labels, supplemental documentation, and help system and make key package/display and content decisions to improve the accuracy of data system users’ data analyses.[5]

See also


  1. Beynon-Davies P. (2009) Business Information Systems. Palgrave, Basingstoke
  2. Beynon-Davies P. (2010) Significance: exploring the nature of information, systems and technology. Palgrave, Basingstoke
  3. Wayman, J. C. (2005). Involving teachers in data-driven decision making: Using computer data systems to support teacher inquiry and reflection. Journal of Education for Students Placed At Risk, 10, no. 3: 295–308.
  4. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (2007). Landscape review: Education data.
  5. Rankin, J. (2013, March 28). How data Systems & reports can either fight or propagate the data analysis error epidemic, and how educator leaders can help. Presentation conducted from Technology Information Center for Administrative Leadership (TICAL) School Leadership Summit.
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