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.


2 Answers 2


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, 2017 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, 2017 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, 2017 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, 2017 at 11:52
  • the noun is quantity Sep 8, 2017 at 12:27

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