Etymologically the word data is derived from the Latin dare, meaning ‘to give’. In this sense, data are raw elements that can be abstracted from (given by) phenomena – measured and recorded in various ways. However, in general use, data refer to those elements that are taken; extracted through observations, computations, experiments, and record keeping (Borgman 2007). Technically, then, what we understand as data are actually capta (derived from the Latin capere, meaning ‘to take’); those units of data that have been selected and harvested from the sum of all potential data (Kitchin and Dodge 2011). As Jensen (1950: ix, cited in Becker 1952: 278) states:
The data revolution, Rob Kitchin.