Semi-Structured Data

What Does Semi-Structured Data Mean?

Semi-structured data is data that is neither raw data, nor typed data in a conventional database system. It is structured data, but it is not organized in a rational model, like a table or an object-based graph. A lot of data found on the Web can be described as semi-structured. Data integration especially makes use of semi-structured data.

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Techopedia Explains Semi-Structured Data

Some examples of semi-structured data would be BibTex files or a Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) document. Files that are semi-structured may contain rational data made up of records, but that data may not be organized in a recognizable structure. Some fields may be missing or contain information that can't be easily described in a database system.

In semi-structured data, the information that is contained within the data is normally associated with a database schema. This is why the information is sometimes called self-describing.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.