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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
Structured Data
3.
Sources of Structured Data
4.
Computer-generated Data
5.
Human-generated Data
6.
Characteristics of Structured Data
7.
Advantages of Structured Data
8.
Frequently Asked Questions
9.
Key Takeaways
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024

Structured Data

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Introduction

Big data comprises everything, from money transactions to posts on social media. To take advantage of all this data, we need to integrate the information for analysis and data management. However, this isn’t as simple as it sounds. There are two main types of data that make up big data - structured and unstructured. 

Structured Data

Structured data refers to the data present in a defined format and has a defined length, for example, dates, numbers, names, addresses, etc. Structured data accounts for almost 20% of the data present today. This is the data that businesses mainly deal with. It is generally stored in a database. 

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Sources of Structured Data

With the evolution of technology, newer sources of structured data are being produced. These sources can be divided into the following two categories:

  1. Computer-generated: Computer or machine-generated data comprises the data that is created by a machine without any human intervention.
  2. Human-generated: Human-generated data refers to the data generated by humans while interacting with computers.

Computer-generated Data

Computer-generated data can further be classified into the following types:

  1. Sensor data: It includes data generated by sensors. Examples include global positioning system (GPS) data, RFID tags, smart meters, etc. GPS data in smartphones can be used to understand customer behavior. RFID is a rapidly growing technology that uses tiny computer chips to track the distance between items. 
  2. Weblog data: When the applications, networks, servers, etc operate, they store the data about their activity. This results in huge volumes of data that can improve service or predict security breaches.
  3. Point-of-sale data: While purchasing any product, you might have seen that the cashier swipes the product's barcode. All the data associated with the product is generated. Imagine all the products people have bought and how extensive this data set can be.
  4. Financial data: This includes the stock-trading data, banks data, etc. Some of this data is computer-generated, and some are human-generated.

Human-generated Data

Human-generated data is classified into the following types:

  1. Input data: It includes the data that human inputs into a computer. For example, entering the name, age, filling out form responses, etc. This data can be used to classify the customers and understand their behaviour.
  2. Click-stream data:  This includes the data that is generated when we click a link on any website. This data can be used to understand customer patterns.
  3. Gaming-related data: Every move we make in a game can be recorded and used to understand how the users behave through a gaming portfolio.

Characteristics of Structured Data

  1. It has defined length and structure.
  2. It is stored in the form of rows and columns.
  3. The data is well organized, and the meaning of the data is explicitly known.
  4. Similar columns are grouped to form tables/relations. It helps to use the data effectively.
  5. Entries in the same table have the same attributes.
  6. This data is easy to access and query. 
  7. It is efficient to analyze and process structured data.

Advantages of Structured Data

  1. It has a well-defined structure and meaning that helps to store and access the data efficiently.
  2. It can be indexed based on text as well as attributes. This helps to perform the search hassle-free.
  3. Knowledge can be extracted easily from structured data.
  4. Updating the data is easy.
  5. Structured data is easily scalable.
  6. Easy to ensure the security of structured data.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is structured data?
    Structured data refers to the data present in a defined format and has a specified length, such as dates, numbers, names, addresses, etc.
  2. What are the types of structured data?
    Structured data is of two types - computer-generated data and human-generated data.
  3. What is computer-generated data? Give examples.
    Computer or machine-generated data comprises the data created by a machine without any human intervention. Some examples include sensor data, web log data, financial data, etc.
  4. What is human-generated data? Give examples.
    Human-generated data refers to the data generated by humans while interacting with computers. Some examples include the input data, click-stream data, etc.

Key Takeaways

In this article, we studied in detail the structured data and its various types. We also saw the characteristics and importance of structured data. We hope that this blog has helped you enhance your knowledge of structured data and if you would like to learn more, check out our articles on code studio. Do upvote our blog to help other ninjas grow. Happy Coding!

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