Existing Citations

  • data (s.v. "data"): (1) Technically, raw facts and figures, such as orders and payments, which are processed into information, such as balance due and quantity on hand. However, in common usage, the terms "data" and "information" are used synonymously. In addition, the term data is really the plural of "datum," which is one item of data. But datum is rarely used, and data is used as both singular and plural in practice. ¶The amount of data versus information kept in the computer is a tradeoff. Data can be processed into different forms of information, but it takes time to sort and sum transactions. Up-to-date information can provide instant answers. ¶A common misconception is that software is also data. Software is executed, or run, by the computer. Data are "processed." Thus, software causes the computer to process data. – 2. Any form of information whether on paper or in electronic form. Data may refer to any electronic file no matter what the format: database data, text, images, audio and video. Everything read and written by the computer can be considered data except for instructions in a program that are executed (software). – 3. May refer only to data stored in a database in contrast with text in a word processing document. (†612)
  • structured data (s.v. "structured data"): Data that resides in fixed fields within a record or file. Relational databases and spreadsheets are examples of structured data. Although data in XML files are not fixed in location like traditional database records, they are nevertheless structured, because the data are tagged and can be accurately identified. Contrast with unstructured data. See record, file, database and spreadsheet. (†610)
  • text mining (s.v. "text mining"): Analyzing natural language in documents, e-mail messages and other free-form text. Text mining attempts to derive meaning from the words and sentences in order to classify documents, route messages appropriately, as well as create summaries of content. For example, e-mail coming to a support site can be analyzed to direct the message to the appropriate technician. See noisy text and data mining. (†613)
  • unstructured data : Data that does not reside in fixed locations. The term generally refers to free-form text, which is ubiquitous. Examples are word processing documents, PDF files, e-mail messages, blogs, Web pages and social sites. Contrast with structured data. See free-form database and text mining. (†611)