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8 Examples of Unstructured Data

 , November 02, 2016
Unstructured data is any information that isn't specifically structured to be easy for machines to understand. Historically, virtually all computer code required information to be highly structured according to a predefined data model in order to be processed. For example, relational databases organize data into tables, rows and fields with constrained datatypes. Real world information isn't like this. As such, it is increasingly common for modern information technologies in areas such as artificial intelligence to process unstructured data. The following are examples.


Textual analysis of written works such as books and blogs.

Social Media

Scanning streams of social media to detect real time information such as rumors about a stock.

Natural Language

Systems that accept voice commands or understand what people are saying for purposes such as analytics.

Photographs & Video

Analysis of video to understand events such as a video camera that monitors water levels flowing into a dam reservoir.


Scanning communications such as emails to detect spam.


Looking for patterns in interstellar radio messages in order to discover intelligent life.


Analysis of x-ray images for signs of disease.


A search engine that spiders unstructured web pages in order to understand their content.
Overview: Unstructured Data
DefinitionData that isn't structured for machines to understand.
ValueMost source data is unstructured.
Related ConceptsData
Dark Data
Personally Identifiable Data

Unstructured Data

This is the complete list of articles we have written about unstructured data.
Dark Data
Fermi Paradox
Structured Data
Unstructured Data
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