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Human-Readable Reports and the Data Trapped Within

Reports are produced for a variety of reasons, ranging from summary reports for corporate decision makers to scientific reports on experiment data to credit reports of individuals.

They are meant to be read and reviewed by humans and follow a structure that is ideal for reading. Originally, these human-readable reports were the final destination of the data within, but in today's data-driven world there is a strong case for liberating the data trapped in these reports so it can be used electronically for further analysis or for integration with other IT applications.

Here is a broad categorization of such report documents:

  • Exported reports (PDF, TXT, Excel, etc.) from software systems, including invoices, sales reports, inventory, and more.
  • Printed reports that are scanned, run through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software, and saved as a searchable PDF file.
  • Printer spool files from legacy IBM mainframe systems.
  • Machine data logs.

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