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Unstructured data is

computerized information, which does not have a data structure. This may include audio, video and unstructured text such as e-mails or documents.[1]
defined data that does not reside in fixed fields of a database; e.g., word processing documents, email, and other non-database records.[2]
any data that has little identifiable structure. Images, videos, email, documents and text fall into the category of unstructured data.[3]
[d]ata that is more free-form, such as multimedia files, images, sound files, or unstructured text.[4]


"Unstructured data does not necessarily follow any format or hierarchical sequence, nor does it follow any relational rules. Unstructured data refers to masses of (usually) computerized information which do not have a data structure which is easily readable by a machine. Examples of unstructured data may include audio, video and unstructured text such as the body of an email or word processor document. Data mining techniques are used to find patterns in, or otherwise interpret, this information."[5]


  1. Survey of DHS Data Mining Activities, at 5 n.6.
  2. David O. Stephens, Making the Transition from Paper to Electronic (ARMA Int'l 2007).
  3. Australian Public Service Better Practice Guide for Big Data, at 28.
  4. Project Open Data, Glossary (full-text).
  5. Id.

See also[]