What is the Difference Between Data Retrieval and Information Retrieval?

As we are moving into the information age there is a need to secure data transmission and also to store and retrieve the data and the information. Information Retrieval Systems are increasing with the advent of the technology.

Let us fist talk about the basic differences between the data and the information.


  • It is the raw fact.
  • For its retrieval it needs to be fully mentioned. If the file name or the document name is not known or is case sensitive, there are chances for the system to fail and do not retrieve any document.
  • Examples of data are a piece of paper, a book, an algorithm.
  • In the above examples their location is not known and hence the meaning cannot be given to this data


  • Information is processed data.
  • For its retrieval a partial information is enough for its evaluation. Hence, the system never fails.
  • Examples of information are a piece of paper on a table, a book in the shelf, a bubble-sort algorithm.
  • In the above examples their location are known and hence they have a specified meaning.

Data retrieving systems can be found in the operating system search. Windows search is a best example for the data retrieval system. you would have to specify the exact name of the file that you desire. Where are information retrieval systems are like web search engines. The best known is Google. It processes the natural language and produces the output in encompassing the entire set of documents matching the query.

It is very much important in these days to retrieve the data at a faster rate. Earlier there used to linear search mechanisms where in the entire set of documents in the database are read and then sorted according to the query and displayed. This had varied complexities and took greater amount of time compared to the advanced techniques available these days.

In an information retrieval system, the documents are scanned for the query. To decrease the computation time of the system, the documents are scanned only for the repeated key words which are considered relevant to the document. The output displayed sends a feedback as an input for the next query. In this way with every query there is an increase in the performance of the system.

There should be more and more information retrieving systems to reduce the time of searching a document and this is done with the help of indexing.

Source by Mridz Boin

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