New Ways of Preparing Data for Computers Could Save Money and Time and Reduce Errors

FGMSD-78-39: Published: Jul 18, 1978. Publicly Released: Jul 18, 1978.

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The preparation of data for processing by computers, data entry, has been dominated by the keypunch and the punched card for years. Better methods now exist, and both large and small government computer installations can benefit from adopting them.

The keypunching method of data entry is costly, error prone, and time consuming. The three basic procedures of advanced data entry are key entry, automatic reading, and source data sensing. Changed data entry techniques, with or without changed equipment, may achieve many benefits. Careful analysis and selection of proper devices, techniques, and procedures can save money through increases in productivity with better devices, faster data entry into the computer, and fewer errors in the data entered. The failure of agencies to be consistent in the way they select data entry devices and their reluctance to evaluate the cost and effectiveness of selections made and methods installed result from a lack of guidelines for selecting advanced data entry methods. The Secretary of Commerce is authorized to provide technical advisory services to agencies and to undertake necessary research in automatic data processing (ADP) systems. The Administrator of the General Services Administration is responsible for coordinating and providing for the effective acquisition and management of federal ADP equipment.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should direct the National Bureau of Standards to develop and issue guidelines on selecting and evaluating advanced data entry systems. Federal agency and department heads should require internal auditors to review changes in data entry techniques both before and after they are made.

    Agency Affected:


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