1.1 An Overview of the DIKW Pyramid

Topic Summary

The DIKW Pyramid is introduced as a model we can use to understand the way data is converted to wisdom, which is the one overall goal of data. In this first topic, we consider the model at a high level, and we will consider each level in more detail in subsequent topics.

Key Points to Remember

  1. The idea behind the DIKW Pyramid goes back to 20th century writings in the fields of knowledge management and information systems.
  2. The D stands for data, the I stands for information, the K stands for knowledge and the W stands for wisdom.
  3. There’s no guarantee that the link between the successive levels of the DIKW Pyramid will be intact. As T.S. Eliot pointed out, we can lose our way from one level to the next.


1.1 An Overview of the DIKW Pyramid | Data Literacy

The DIKW Pyramid


Exercise 1.1. What’s an area in either your personal or your professional life for which you want to use data in order to grow in wisdom? We’ll use the answer to this question as the starting point for your course project.


Where is the life we have lost in living?

Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

-T.S. Eliot, The Rock: A Pageant Play

Further reading: