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  Data Capture Bureaux

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  From Data Entry to Dataflow

  Why Install a Data Entry System

The Punch Room
The Punch Room is shorthand for centralised data capture. For decades the Punch Room was the machine shop where forms were transposed into data by way of punched cards. The Punch Room was next door to the pre-computer ‘Automated Data Processing Room’ where all the card processing equipment was located. When the computer arrived this room became the ‘Computer Room.’ When the electronic data preparation equipment arrived, the name ‘Punch Room’ stuck!

Centralised data capture was a paper processing operation. Forms were transported to the punch room. Data was keyed from the forms and the forms were transported to storage. Trolleys were always much in evidence.

The organization of the punch room was industrial. The punches or terminals were lined up in rows. All operatives were measured by personal output statistics and generally paid for amount of good work done. There were Lead Operators, Section Leaders and a Data Preparation Supervisor. All were female.

The systems were sold with standard desks and chairs designed for maximum operator health and safety. They are easily recognisable in the photographs in the Case Studies. Ergonomic issues are discussed elsewhere in the Archive.

The Case Studies range across a wide variety of organizations. All large organizations used centralised data capture for decades
until the 1990s when most organizations were re-engineered for the internet-driven IT era.

The Case Studies are in a drop-down list and include; the UK Driving and Vehicle Licensing system at Swansea, Europe’s largest data preparation system, the Inland Revenue, HM Treasury, Open University, Tesco, Littlewoods, Shell, NAAFI, Prudential and many others. The usual caveat with the Case Studies in the Archive applies. These Case Studies survived by accident. They are not unrepresentative but neither are they complete. In total the Case Studies cover 5% to 7% of the projects undertaken by ROCC. They provide a fascinating picture of industrial IT in the last few decades of the 20th Century.
 


 

     

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© Michael Aldrich 2011