Structured data refers to data that is organized and formatted in a predefined manner, making it easily searchable, analyzable, and processable by machines.
Structured data is typically organized into rows and columns, similar to a spreadsheet or database table. In structured data, each data element is labeled and categorized with a defined data type, allowing for efficient storage, retrieval, and analysis.
Characteristics of structured data
- Organized format: Structured data follows a well-defined format or schema, specifying the types of data that can be stored in each column or field. This format ensures consistency and facilitates data integration and interoperability.
- Tabular representation: Structured data is often represented in tabular form, with rows representing individual records or instances and columns representing specific attributes or properties. This tabular structure allows for easy manipulation and querying of the data.
- Fixed schema: Structured data adheres to a fixed schema, meaning the structure and attributes of the data are predefined and remain constant. This ensures uniformity and consistency in the data format.
- Relational associations: Structured data can often capture relationships between different entities or records through the use of keys or identifiers. This enables the establishment of relationships and connections between related data elements.
Examples of structured data
- Transactional data: Sales records, customer information, and purchase history stored in a database.
- Financial data: Balance sheets, income statements, and financial ratios organized in a structured format.
- Sensor data: Recorded measurements, such as temperature, pressure, or humidity, collected at regular intervals and stored in a structured format.
- Survey data: Responses to survey questions stored in a tabular form, with each row representing a respondent and columns representing the survey questions.
Structured data is well-suited for traditional relational databases and is easily processed by database management systems using Structured Query Language (SQL) or other data manipulation languages. Its structured nature allows for efficient analysis, reporting, and integration with other systems and tools.