definition of digital information

Digital information is all information that is stored or transmitted using ones and zeros (the binary system).

These ones and zeros represent a real state of matter, wave, or energy. For example, on an optical disk (CD, DVD…) a laser reads the surface that is «marked» in different ways to represent 1 and 0.

As in the image below, you see the surface of a CD-ROM under a microscope, you can clearly see short lines (zeros) and long lines (ones).

In other cases the ZERO is an electrical voltage (one voltage range) and the ONE is another voltage (another voltage range); or the ZERO can be a certain frequency (a frequency range), and the ONE another frequency (another frequency range). The idea is that one can distinguish between two possible states.

The graph shows a read-write head on hard drives. Writing (W) causes the head to bias a tiny portion of the hard disk platter, which bias gives two possible states: up or down, meaning 1 or 0 respectively.

This succession of ones and zeros constitutes digital information: images, videos, text, music, etc.

On a typical computer, these ones and zeros are turned into a series of bytes, which are grouped into files. The files can be read and are distinguished from each other by their format (their nature).

Analog information versus digital information

The text in a book, the music stored on a vinyl record or cassette, etc. it is considered analog stored information. This information is very vulnerable to the passage of time and use.

The general world trend is to store information digitally, since, unlike analog methods, the information does not deteriorate with use.

It is clear that the medium or support that stores the digital information can deteriorate: hard drives, optical discs, flash memories, etc. Ultimately, all information (whether analog or digital) is ultimately stored on a physical medium that is vulnerable.

It is good to point out, as a point in favor of analog information, that the loss of information in a digital medium can be more catastrophic than in an analog medium. For example, on certain media or formats, a single missing bit can make an entire data file unreadable (at least to non-expert users).

The process of converting analog information into digital information is called: digitization.

See: Analog storage

Characteristics or properties of digital information

– Digital information is quickly processed by computers and electronic devices in general, facilitating searches, modifications and information processing.

– The content of digital information can mix different natures: photographs, texts, videos, music and even interactivity, something that is much more limited in analog information.

– Digital information can be non-linear, the use of links, jumps and interactivity allows to go from one side of the information to another quickly.

– The capacity to store digital information is immense and is usually cheaper than the same information stored in analog form. It also takes up much less physical space.

– Digital information is virtual: it can be copied quickly, it can be accessed countless times and simultaneously (an -analog- book can only be read by one person at a time).

Related terms



finger signal

digital audio

digital camera

finger signal

digital zoom

Quote the definition: (2018). definition of digital information – ALEGSA 2018-05-31 url: https:///Dic/informacion digital.php

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