Types of data

Types of data

Data that is generated today is of three basic types: structured, semi-structured and unstructured.

Structured data

Structured data is often considered quantitative. It has the following features:

  • The data fields are arranged in fixed-length formats.
  • It comprises fixed data types.
  • It has the advantage of being easily stored, searched, processed and analysed.
  • Some of the common examples of structured data are names, addresses, credit card information, etc.

Semi-structured data

Semi-structured data contains tags or other markers that help it to segregate the semantic elements from the fields of data. The data is in the form of XML- or JSON-like documents.

Unstructured data

It can exist in any form or shape and has no predefined schema; however, it does have an internal structure.
Based on the source, unstructured data can be of the following two types:

  • Human-generated unstructured data, which could include text files, email, social media, websites, media, business applications, etc.
  • Machine-generated data, which could include sensor data, scientific data, satellite imagery, etc.

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