Layout of input and output documents for punched cards

In most punched-card systems, a number of preliminary operations have to be performed to prepare information in readiness for punching into the cards.

These operations vary from job to job depending on the type of source document, where and how it is completed, the amount of checking necessary and whether some of the information is required for uses other than punched cards. The design of output documents turns largely on the characteristics of the tabulator or printer employed.

The original document

The design of the original document is frequently the most important factor in achieving economy and accuracy in the preliminary processes. Wherever possible it should be used as the ‘punching document’, i.e. the document from which information is transcribed on to the punched cards.

As such it should be designed to aid (1) the person who has to provide the basic information in manuscript or typewriting, and (2) the punch operator who has to read the information to record it in the form of punched holes in a card.

Occasionally the needs of (1) may be different from (2) or the original document has to be designed to meet other purposes, and either may involve clerical transcription of the information to be punched on to a separate intermediate document suitably designed for presentation to the punch operator.

If only part of the information is insufficiently clearly presented a slip on which this information is transcribed can be affixed to the original document, or the document impressed with a rubber stamp, thus avoiding the creation of an entirely separate document.

The following points should be considered in the design of original or special punching documents:

1. Number of pages or number of cards per page

Wherever practicable information should be presented to the punch operator on one side of a single page of the punching document and the data not to be punched should be clearly distinguished and separated. As many cards as possible should be completely punched—without a break—from one page, to reduce page turning and encourage a smooth working rhythm.

2. Size of page

Documents should be kept to a convenient size (preferably not larger than foolscap or equivalent size) for handling and for ease of locating the relevant data.

3. Colour and texture

Legibility is important. Black on white and where appropriate certain other colour combinations give good contrasts but colours that tire the eye, e.g. red background, should be avoided. It is also essential that sufficiently thick and opaque paper be used to prevent information on the reverse side showing through.

4. Sequence of punching

Information should be presented in a straightforward sequence in the order of punching, i.e. in column order on the cards. Information common to a series of cards will normally be positioned first. Column numbers on cards facilitate the correction of punching errors.

5. Horizontal or vertical recording

It is usually easier to record information set out vertically than horizontally. The eye tends to jump off horizontal lines so causing a rather higher proportion of errors. If for various reasons data has to be set out horizontally it may be useful to use a document holder with a line indicator to keep the operator’s eye along each line.

6. Boxes

Boxes can be used with advantage not only to focus the attention of the punching operator on the relevant information, but also to ensure that the information when originally recorded is placed in the correct position on the page.

7. Shading

Shading or hatching is a useful device to prevent people recording information in the wrong places or alternatively to obliterate unwanted information. Precoding original documents

Documents may be designed so as to obviate the need for coding either part or whole of the information on any individual document.

Broadly there are two ways in which this may be done:

  1. Where the range of possible answers to various questions is limited and can be predetermined, each question and all the possible answers are printed on the questionnaire type of document with the code for each answer printed alongside. A person completing the form has only to ‘ring’, tick or otherwise identify the appropriate codes to indicate the answers applicable.
  2. Where limited identifying or descriptive data like Office, District, Area, Region etc., can be preprinted in code on the document prior to distribution.

The method described under (1) has many advantages; the separate coding and checking of operations is eliminated and information is presented to the operator in a legible and uniform fashion. The risk of transcription errors is therefore greatly reduced.

Preprinting a code for identifying data ensures the accuracy of the code and reduces coding work. It also facilitates the sorting of documents into batches to make the best use of gang-punching facilities.

Dual purpose cards

Punched cards can if required, be used in the dual capacity of original document and punched card record. In such cases provision is made on the card for writing or typing information (either all or in part) which is subsequently punched into it. Cards used in this manner are called dual purpose cards. This category includes cards which are designed for ‘mark sensing’ or ‘mark scanning’ as well as the standard type of card.

The advantages of using dual purpose cards are that:

  1. They provide a visual reference as well as a punched card record;
  2. Paper is saved by the elimination of a separate original document; and
  3. The permanent association of the manuscript and punched data facilitates the location and correction of punching errors.
Form with title: Ministry of Aviation, AIR TRANSPORT MOVEMENT RETURN.
1. Name of Airport (Code Number): 01
2. Actual Time of Landing (G.M.T.): 1435
3. Day of Week and Date: Day sun, Date 7, Month 9, Year 52.
4. Name of Operator: VEGA AIRLINES LTD. 0864.
5. Nationality of Operator: BRITISH.
6. Registration Number of Aircraft: G, A, M, J, H.
7. Full Type of Aircraft: CONSTELLATION L. 749.
(5 through 7) To be coded at H.Q. 503.
8. Type of Flight: 11.
This document is completed at airports in Britain and is forwarded to the Ministry of Civil Aviation H.Q. where card punching and verifying is undertaken. Information to be punched is contained in the ‘boxes’ on the right-hand side of the form
RAF. Form 693 (Revised January, 1958).
Table with rows:
1, Service Number (last three): 101.
2, Rank: 14.
3, Command: 26.
4, Branch or Trade Group: 15.
5, Length of Service: 123.
6, Age Group: 6.
7, Month and Year of Onset: 19.
8, Duration: Sick at Home: Crossed out.
9, Duration: Stn. Sick Qrs: Crossed out.
10, R.A.F. Homes: 011.
11, Military Hospital: Crossed out.
12, Naval Hospital : Crossed out.
13, Civil Hospital: Crossed out.
14, M.R. Unit: Crossed out.
15, Total Days: 011.
16, Result: Crossed out.
17, Principal Disease/Injury: 7410.
18, Complication of 17: Crossed out.
19, Secondary to 17: Crossed out.
20, Nature of Operation: Crossed out.
21, Nature of Second Operation: Crossed out.
22, Anaesthetic: Crossed out.
23, External Cause of Injury: Crossed out.
Extracted by: (Signature) JHG.
Checked by: (Signature) BLD.
This is a document specially prepared for punching. The variable information is obtained from other documents, coded and recorded in manuscript in suitably sited ‘boxes’ at the right of the form
Form with title PAPER AND LABELS (cont.).
Rows of item codes for example:
Code GP 15, Item 21, Quanity 5500 Shts., Quantity in hand crossed out, For HMSO use ticked.
Other rows are similar with varied item numbers and quantity numbers.
Separate section, FOR H.M.S.O. USE ONLY.
Service chargeable table title with:
Class: 1.
Main: 3.
Sub: 16.
Sub-off: 293.
Issue Note No.
Stamp that reads:
DIVN 1, SECT3, ISSUE 65432, 26 Jan 60.
Caption: Metal numbering stamp: division and section cods, plus serial number.
Part of a form used by large departments when making periodical demands for stock items of stationery etc. The ‘class’ and ‘main’ codes are preprinted. The ‘sub’ and ‘sub-office’ codes are recorded by the departments and the quantity of each item required entered against the appropriate preprinted item code
(for explanation of terms see accompanying memorandum).
Region: (Hand written)  3.
Building No.
Svr. 319
Eng. 328.
Both: 048, 019.
Building & Address: (Hand written) 31 Regent ST., Barchester.
Occupying Dept: Inland Revenue.
Section 1 with title Type of User.
Office (other than TOB or Post Office
Operational building):-
(a) Purpose built, blank field.
(b) Adapted, blank field.
T.O.B, blank field.
Storage Accommodation, blank field.
Slaughterhouse, blank field.
Hostel, Camp, etc., blank field.
Factory, Workshop, Garage, (other than P.O.) etc, blank field.
Research Establishment, blank field.
Post Office Operational Building:-
(other then T.R.S & U.A.X), blank field.
Post Office Building:- (T.R.S. & U.A.X.).
Coastguard:- Station and/or Cottage, blank field.
Coastguard:- L.S.A. or Lookout Hut, blank field.
House or Cottage (other than Coastguard).
Ancient Monument/Historic Building, blank field.
Miscellaneous (give brief details here)., blank field.
Section 2 with title D.L.A FLOOR AREA (SQ.FT.).
Not available, blank field.
0 - 500, blank field.
500 - 1,000, blank field.
1,000 - 2,000, blank field.
Section 7 with title Tenure.
Building on on DLA charge Crown, blank field.
Rented - Lease over 3 years, blank field.
Rented = Lease or Tenancy Agreement 3 years or under, blank field.
Requisition, blank field.
Varying tenures/requisition within one building , blank field.
Other arrangements (including Licences) , blank field.
Building not on DLA charge
Crown, blank field.
Other arrangements, blank field.
Section 8 with title No. of Separate Structures.
Between 1 end 10, blank field.
- 11 and 20, blank field.
- 21 and 50, blank field.
- 51 and 100, blank field.
Over 100, blank field.
Section 9 with title distance from office (miles), blank field.
Section 13 with title Gardening Carried out by M.O.W.
No/yes, blank field.
Under 1 acre, blank field.
1 - 2 acres, blank field.
2 - 5 acres, blank field.
5 - 10 acres, blank field.
10 - 25 acres, blank field.
25 - 50 acres, blank field.
Over 50 acres, blank field.
Section 14 with title M.O.W. Rsponsible for Sewage Disposal.
No/yes, blank field.
Cesspool, blank field.
Filtration gravity, blank field.
Filtration pumped, blank field.
Other arrangements, blank field.
Section 15 with title Maintenance Responsibility Engineers.
Maintenance of all normal engineering services, blank field.
This precoded form is sent to each Regional or Area Officer for completion in accordance with instructions contained in a covering memorandum
Punchcard with column titles:
Date, Name, Yard No. Centre, Hourly rate, Job Contract No, Head of Charge, Pay Hours, Time of labour, Clock hours, Value, Oncost.
Sub table.
Name: Austin G R.
Yard No: 2G345.
Centre: -238.
Rate: S: 3 D: 10, DEC: -73.
Job Contract No: Blank.
Ship or centre: 4053.
Section: 001.
Sub-section: blank.
Pay hours: 16/12.
Type of lab: 1.
O/C Group: 2/6.
Clock hours: 16.
Description of work:
Warrior 1) 3A, Repaint to w/ T Calium.
Calendar sub table with days of the week, normal time, absent time, overtime.
Thurs has normal time as 8 3/4.
Fri has normal time as 7 1/4.
Total clock hours 16.
Punched cards can be used in the dual capacity of original document and punched card record; provision is made on the card for writing or typing information (either all or in part) which is subsequently punched into it. The top left-hand corner is cut to ensure cards are faced up the right way for the machine
Punch card with title PROBATION OFFICER’S CASE WORK, YEAR 195.
Section probation area, blank.
Section probation office, blank.
Name of ref. of case, blank.
Section particulars of case with columns:
Sex, options 1 male 2 female.
Age when supn. began, blank.
Case supn began, blank.
Section type of case col 13:
1, probation.
2, supervision.
3, money payment.
4, app’d school after care.
5, borstal after care.
6, prison after care or licence.
7, prison after care, voluntary.
8, detention centre after care, voluntary.
Section term of order col 14.
Probation only:-
1, one year.
2, over 1 yr. & up to 2 yrs.
3, over 2 yrs & up to 3 yrs.
Supervision only:-
4, one year or less.
5, over 1 yr. & up to 2 yrs.
6, over 2 yrs & up to 3 yrs.
Section court making order col 15.
1, juvenile.
2, magistrates.
3, qtr. sessions
4, assizes.
5, c or c. appeal.
6, scottish.
Section (for probation cases only).
If on probation previously col 16.
0, Nil.
1, once.
2, twice.
3, three or more times.
Overall section termination of cases during year:
Section on normal date col 17.
1, normal completion.
2, further P.O. in force person was in.
3, app’d school.
4, detention centre.
5, corstal.
6, prison.
7, remand home (sec. 54).
8, supn. impracticable.
9, lost trace.
Section in advance of normal date col. 18:
12, good progress.
13, further P.O. made.
0, Fit person order made.
1, sent to app’d school.
2, sent to det’n centre.
3, sent to borstal.
4, sent to prison.
5, sent to remand home (sec 54).
6, otherwise dealt with.
7, supn. impracticable.
Section money payment supervision col 19:
1, paid fine.
2, committed in default.
3, otherwise dealt with.
Section transfers of supervision col 20.
0, nil.
1, once.
2, twice.
3, three or more.
Section reasons for transfer col 20.
4, change of address.
5, other reasons.
This dual purpose punched card provides a number of preprinted entries; those to be recorded are struck out, but could be otherwise indicated

The use of dual purpose cards has, however, to be restricted to jobs where the amount and type of information required can be conveniently written or marked within the limited recording capacity on the card. Special care has to be taken in the design and layout of dual purpose cards because, on some equipment, they are partially obscured during the punching operation.

Telephone : Canterbury 6811.
Telex : 89119 (Telman Canterby).
Prompt payment will be much appreciated.
It avoids reminders and helps to keep down the cost of the service.
(Space for a stamp)
† Rental  (quarter in arrear, quarter in advance).
* Trunk calls, telegrams, etc,
Local calls (last half year)
M = Miscellaneous
AR = Accounts rendered
AMOUNT, blank field.
* = Statements enclosed
† = The rental includes recurring charges for spacial directory entries and other services where appropriate.
FOR USE OF SUBSCRIBER, when paying by cheque.
OFFICE STAMP, (space for a stamp).
Date paid, blank field.
Cheque No., blank field.
Received with thanks the sum of
£ s. d.
Initials, blank field, for Postmaster General
Exempt from Stamp Duty
Corres, blank field.
OFFICE STAMP, (space for a stamp).
(On the side of the perforated sprocket punched line.)
If payment is made by cheque by post, only
this portion need be returned.
(see NOTES overleaf)
Amount Received
£ s. d.
This Half Yearly Account for Telephone Service is designed as two-part continuous stationery (sprocket punched) for use on tabulating machinery