Raw data, also known as primary data is a term used for data collected from a source that has not been subjected to processing or any other manipulation. Raw data may be gathered from various processes and IT resources. It is just the information that has been collected but not formatted or analyzed.
Raw data is also known as source data or atomic data, which is primarily unstructured or unformatted repository data. It can be in the form of files, database records, visual images or any other digital data that are stored in a file, or may just be a collection of numbers and characters that are stored in the computer's hard disk.
Such raw data has to be extracted, analyzed, processed and used by humans or some software applications to draw conclusions, make strategies or extract meaningful information. The processed data will be in the form of information. Business intelligence, data mining and some artificial intelligence may be used to process the raw data to produce meaningful information.
Example of RAW data
Raw data can be an input to a computer program or it can be a data used in manual procedures such as analyzing statistics from a survey. It can even refer to the binary data on electronic storage devices such as hard disk drives.
One other simple example of raw data is the data collected in a supermarket. A point-of-sale terminal (POS terminal) in a busy supermarket would collect enormous raw data each day, but it doesn't yield much information until it is processed. After it is processed, the data indicates the particular items that each customer buys, when and at what price they buy them. Such information can be further subjected for analysis that help the owner plan future marketing campaigns.
As a result of processing, raw data would sometimes end up in a database that enables the data to become accessible for further processing and analysis in a number of different ways.
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