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Definition

structured data

Structured data is data that has been organized into a formatted repository, typically a database, so that its elements can be made addressable for more effective processing and analysis.

A data structure is a kind of repository that organizes information for that purpose. In a database, for example, each field is discrete and its information can be retrieved either separately or along with data from other fields, in a variety of combinations. The power of the database is its ability to make data comprehensive, so that it yields useful information. A database query language, such as SQL (standard query language), allows a database administrator to interact with the database.

Structured data contrasts with unstructured and semi-structured data. The three can be considered to exist on a continuum, with unstructured data being the least formatted and structured data being the most formatted. Data is increasingly amenable to processing as it is increasingly structured.

This was last updated in November 2015

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