Browse Definitions :
Definition

semi-structured data

Contributor(s): Ivy Wigmore

Semi-structured data is data that has not been organized into a specialized repository, such as a database, but that nevertheless has associated information, such as metadata, that makes it more amenable to processing than raw data.

The difference between structured data, unstructured data and semi-structured data:
Unstructured data has not been organized into a format that makes it easier to access and process. In reality, very little data is completely unstructured. Even things that are often considered unstructured data, such as documents and images, are structured to some extent. Structured data is basically the opposite of unstructured: It has been reformatted and its elements organized into a data structure so that elements can be addressed, organized and accessed in various combinations to make better use of the information. Semi-structured data lies somewhere between the two. It is not organized in a complex manner that makes sophisticated access and analysis possible; however, it may have information associated with it, such as metadata tagging, that allows elements contained to be addressed.

Here's an example: A Word document is generally considered to be unstructured data. However, you can add metadata tags in the form of keywords and other metadata that represent the document content and make it easier for that document to be found when people search for those terms -- the data is now semi-structured. Nevertheless, the document still lacks the complex organization of the database, so falls short of being fully structured data.

In reality, there is considerable overlap between the boundaries of the three categories, which are sometimes described collectively as the data continuum.

This was last updated in November 2014

Continue Reading About semi-structured data

Join the conversation

1 comment

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

can you provide me the examples of semistructured data
Cancel

SearchCompliance

  • risk assessment

    Risk assessment is the identification of hazards that could negatively impact an organization's ability to conduct business.

  • PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard)

    The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to ...

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

SearchSecurity

  • tokenization

    Tokenization is the process of replacing sensitive data with unique identification symbols that retain all the essential ...

  • incident response

    Incident response is an organized approach to addressing and managing the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack, also ...

  • Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA)

    The Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) is United States legislation that defines a framework of guidelines and ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • call tree

    A call tree is a layered hierarchical communication model that is used to notify specific individuals of an event and coordinate ...

  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

    Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide ...

  • cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR)

    Cloud disaster recovery (cloud DR) is a combination of strategies and services intended to back up data, applications and other ...

SearchStorage

Close