Structured Data

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What Does Structured Data Mean?

Structured data is data that is stored in clearly defined data types that can easily be imported into a relational database and queried with Structured Query Language (SQL).

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Structured data can be contrasted with unstructured data and semi-structured data.

Techopedia Explains Structured Data

Data conforms to fixed fields. That means those utilizing data can anticipate having fixed-length pieces of information and consistent models in order to process that information.

In the past, structured data was the norm, and much of structuring data was done by human hands. For example, humans mined documents for fixed-length information that could be built into database tables.

More recently, different kinds of NoSQL technologies and other advances have led to the aggregation and use of relatively unstructured data, where computer systems can analyze less structured data in more precise ways.

This is leading to a major change in how companies collect, store and use data, with high-powered analytics systems and other resources. In turn, this has a major effect on business operations, for example customer relationships, supply chains, and internal efforts to grow or expand a business.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
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.