We talk a lot about data – how it is used, how much there is, and how it can help us in achieving our best outcomes. We recognize there are several kinds of data and each serves its own unique purposes. This interesting topic came to us from Datamation in their article, “Semi-Structured Data.”

Semi-structured data is one of many different types of data. It is a sibling to structured and unstructured data. Structured data has a long history and is the type used commonly in organizational databases. But more recently, semi-structured and unstructured data has evolved to the point where it is possible to harness it and mine it for business insight.

Semi-structured data contains certain aspects that are structured, and others that are not. Most files include a small section known as metadata. This opens the door to being able to analyze unstructured data. Metadata often includes how the data was created, its purpose, its time of creation, the author, file size, length, sender/recipient, and more.

Even though almost all unstructured data actually contains some kind of structure in the form of metadata, there is a fine line between truly unstructured data and semi-structured data.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.