What is the Difference Between Data Retrieval and Information Retrieval?

As we move into the information age, there is a need to ensure data transfer and also to store and retrieve the data and information. Information retrieval systems are increasing with the advent of technology.

Let’s talk about the fundamental differences between the data and the information.


  • That is the raw fact.
  • To be retrieved, it must be mentioned in full. If the file name or document name is not known or is case-sensitive, chances are that the system will fail and will not retrieve any document.
  • Examples of data are a piece of paper, a book, an algorithm.
  • In the above examples, their location is unknown and, consequently, the significance cannot be given to this data


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

Data retrieval systems can be found in the operating system search. Windows Search is the best example of the data retrieval system. you must enter the exact name of the file you want. Where are information retrieval systems are like web search engines. The best known is Google. It processes the natural language and produces output by encompassing the entire set of documents that match the query.

It is very important these days to retrieve the data faster. In the past, linear search engines are used where the entire set of documents in the database are read and then sorted by the query and displayed. This had different complexities and took more time compared to the advanced techniques available these days.

In an information retrieval system, the documents are scanned for the query. To reduce system computation time, documents are scanned only for the repetitive keywords that are considered relevant to the document. The output shown sends a feedback as input to the next query. In this way with each query there is an increase in system performance.

There must be more and more information retrieval systems to reduce the time spent searching a document and this is done using indexing.