According to the OED, to monetize is to

Convert or adapt (a society, economy, etc.) to trade based on the exchange of money.

There are similar conceptualisations, like gentrify, gamify, and so on, which refer to process of conversion of something into something else.

Is there an equivalent for data? I want to express the fact that technology is "converting many of the things we do into data", like our trips to the supermarket, our TV selections, our supermarket basket, our mobile phone applications, etc (the Big Data phenomena).

Something like to datify? I don't think I have come across any related term.

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  • If you dislike digitize as an answer, maybe you need to define what you mean by data.  I’m a long time computer user, but I believe that your trip to the supermarket is driven by your shopping list, which is data even if it’s handwritten.  When you take your basket and check out, that constitutes data too, and is input to the computation of how much money you owe — which is a number (data!) even if the store doesn’t have modern cash registers, and the shopkeeper had to add it up on his fingers or the back of an envelope. – Scott Sep 7 '17 at 19:46
  • @Scott The problem is that the common understanding of that word is unrelated to the phenomenon I want to refer to. Just see the Wikipedia article. Therefore, using it would lead to misunderstanding for most of the people. – luchonacho Sep 7 '17 at 19:50

If you accept a definition of digital data (as opposed to still using pen and paper), you can use "to digitize" and "digitization":

(usually as adjective: digitized)

  1. Convert (pictures or sound) into a digital form that can be processed by a computer.
    ‘the new police national computer will be capable of storing digitized photographs’

Note that the verb seems to only list pictures and sound, but the noun "digitization" also includes text:

mass noun

  1. The conversion of text, pictures, or sound into a digital form that can be processed by a computer.
    ‘the digitization of the rare map collection at the library’

I assume this is an inconsistency in the dictionary definitions, rather than an actual difference in meaning.

  • Thanks. The problem with digitalization is that it is mostly understood as transforming existing data from one format to another. They key in the big data phenomena is that in creates data out of information which before was in a format not commonly thought as being data. Of course, it could be stretched enough to make it fit. However I feel a precise, specific word for this phenomenon might be more appropriate. – luchonacho Sep 7 '17 at 11:51
  • @luchonacho "They key in the big data phenomena is that this was previously not data in the common sense." That very much hinges on your interpretation of what consitutes data. In all your examples, the information was already there, we just never bothered to keep track of it until now. Analogously, there is a distinction between "history" and "recorded history". Just because other parts of history have not been recorded does not mean that they therefore aren't history. You seem to interpret "data" as "recorded data", which in my opinion is not correct (though applicable in most cases) – Flater Sep 7 '17 at 11:59
  • But data is not the same as information. Of course, information is everywhere. But data involves a translation of information into an specific language. – luchonacho Sep 7 '17 at 12:04

How about "quantify"? i.e. you're turning something into numbers Or you can say "mine X for data"

  • The problem is that you can quantify many things. As such, you still need a noun. However, something like datify already contains the noun (like gamify, gentrify, monetize, etc). – luchonacho Sep 7 '17 at 11:52
  • the noun is quantity – Daniel Bensen Sep 8 '17 at 12:27

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