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Definition: structured data

Data that can be immediately identified within an electronic file such as a relational database that is structured in rows (records) and columns (fields). For example, to retrieve the name of a city, the city field (city column) is accessed. In contrast, to derive meaning from "unstructured" free-form text, the text must be sequentially scanned and compared.

XML Is Also Structured
XML files contain unstructured text but with their data elements identified by beginning and ending tags that themselves are text (see XML). As a result, XML data can be readily identified and thus qualify as structured data. Because they are partially structured, XML data are also called "semi-structured data." Contrast with unstructured data. See relational database, RDF, record, file, database and spreadsheet.