Layout of documents for use with A.D.P. equipment
The general approach to the design and layout of documents needed for automatic data processing equipment is much the same as that for other office forms. Although there is a gradual increase in the use of mark sensing, character reading, and techniques for preparing ‘machine language’ data as a by-product of other operations, most systems still (1960) involve the transcription of fresh data from source documents into punched cards or punched paper tape.
The factors which are important in relation to the design of documents used for creating punched cards have been referred to earlier; the factors which influence the design of forms which may be used for the creation of paper tape are broadly similar.
The design of documents used for the output of A.D.P. machines is generally influenced by the features of the particular equipment used. As with other machines, it is a matter of designing a document which, although subject to the limitations imposed by the machine itself, serves the purposes of the recipient of the document satisfactorily.
This form was designed for submission as a requisition for up to 25 different items. It has the following special features:
- Each unit is given a code number placed in the top right-hand box, one figure in each entry space. This obviates the need for putting lengthy alphabetical matter into the computer, or for manual coding.
- Similarly, under ‘Designation’ the main noun only would be used and is restricted to 12 letters; when the noun is longer than 12 letters it would be cut off at the coding stage in the central depot.
- A code would be used to indicate the use of a temporary address which would not be put into the computer.
- Control numbers in the right-hand column and the entries marked with an asterisk would be coded at the central depot.
- The operator producing punched cards from this form would easily read straight down the entries on the right-hand side of the form from ‘Code Number’ to ‘Control Date’ inclusive. Entries would then be read from left to right against the appropriate serial number from ‘Section’ to “Control Number’. A separate card would be produced for each item making up the ‘shopping list’.
A clerical check would cover the reason for demand, or authority for issue, and that the demand was signed by a responsible officer of appropriate rank. The computer would check to see whether the latest vocabulary reference number had been quoted, whether this number agreed with the designation, or whether the quantity demanded was a multiple of the primary packaged quantity. Receipt vouchers would also be dealt with by the computer. The card punching would be done after the clerical scrutiny and coding