Figure 2-17. Disk drive in a personal computer.
c. Source Data Automation. Data entry has always been the slowest part of
data processing. While data can be processed electronically at high speeds, it is the
entering of data into the computer that has always been relatively time-consuming. The
slowest form of data entry uses punch cards. Data written on some type of coding form
are keypunched into cards by an operator, and then verified by duplicating. The
operator must then correct errors, keypunch, and verify a second time. Other
operations may be necessary. (Card files may need to be copied onto magnetic tape
using a special program for later input to the computer. This is done because magnetic
tape files can be read into the computer much faster than card files). Key-to-tape, -disk,
or -diskette systems simplify keypunch operations. But an even greater improvement
over these methods of data entry is source data automation. Source data automation
means data can be collected directly into the computer in readable form when and
where the event takes place. With the intermediate steps of preparing card input
eliminated, accuracy and efficiency are increased.
Figure 2-18. Source data automation methods.