Saturday, January 17, 2004

No unstructured data

MORE ON “UNSTRUCTURED” THINKING "There is no such thing as "unstructured data". That means random noise, which has no structure whatsoever and, therefore, is meaningless. It is the structure that gives meaning/content and makes data.

It has nothing to do with scanning, or incompleteness, or missing, or anything. It is structured, whatever it is. Diagrams have one type of structure, partial documents different types of structure, but there is always some structure by definition.

The term "unstructured data" is a misnomer based on misconception: it essentially refers to data that is not structured in tables, or spreadsheets, or whatever; mainly text, graphics, etc. But that is not unstructured, it's just different structures than tables or spreadsheets, that's all.

And that's a core issue, because structure determines the integrity and manipulation of the data, which are different for each type of structure. The point of relational structure is that it is the simplest formal structure for integrity and manipulation. Any other structure adds complexity, but no power."
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