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Data Capture

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Data Capture

This is any process for converting information into a form that can be handled by a computer. Automatic forms of data entry include the bar code reader – typically used at a shop to find details on the product sold and its price, as well as to aid in stock management. Barcodes are also used by libraries to record the ISBN number of the book and the borrower’s card details and at warehouses to check the labels on the boxes delivered against what is recorded on the data sheet. There is also the optical mark reader which is a scanning device that reads carefully placed pencil marks on a specially designed form or document. An example of this is selecting your lottery numbers.

Another form is optical character recognition. This enable the computer to identify written or printed characters and it is used to automatically recognise postcodes on letters at sorting offices.

Although there are many methods of capturing data automatically, many businesses prefer to capture it manually. Methods for manual capture can include the paper based data capture form. This is the most commonly used method of collecting or capturing data where people are given a form to fill in with their personal details like their name, address, telephone number and data of birth etc.

Data is often entered as a code in a database because it is quicker to type in, uses less disk space, is easy to validate and makes searching the database easier as data is entered in a standard format.

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