Data entry, a person-based process, is "one of the important basic" tasks needed when no machine-readable version of the information for planned computer-based analysis or processing is readily available.
Sometimes what is needed is "information about information (that) can be greater than the value of the information itself." It can also involve filling in required information which is then "data-entered" from what was written on the research document, such as the growth in available items in a category. This is a higher level of abstraction than Metadata, "information about data."
Data entry is often done with a keyboard and at times also using a mouse, although a manually-fed scanner may be involved.
Historically, devices lacking any pre-processing capabilities were used.
Keypunching. Data entry using keypunches was related to the concept of Batch processing - there was no immediate feedback.
Computer keyboards. Computer keyboards and online data-entry provide the ability to give feedback to the data entry clerk doing the work.
Numeric keypads. The addition of numeric keypads to computer keyboards introduced quicker and often also the less error-prone entry of numeric data.
Computer mouse. The use of a computer mouse, typically on a personal computer, opened up another option for doing data entry.
Touch screens. Touch screens introduced even more options, including the ability to stand and do data entry, especially given "a proper height of work surface when performing data entry."
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F.A.Q about Data Entry
What does Data Entry mean?
Data entry is the process of transcribing information into an electronic medium such as a computer or other electronic device. It can either be performed manually or automatically by using a machine or computer. Most data entry tasks are time consuming in nature, however data entry is considered a basic, necessary task for most organizations.
Data entry is considered a non–core process for most organizations and is usually performed on data forms such as spreadsheets, handwritten or scanned documents, audio or video. Addition, modification and deletion are the three modes of operation in data entry.
Data entry jobs do not require any special qualifications, knowledge or talent, and only require accuracy and fast turnaround. As such, data entry jobs are frequently outsourced in order to lower costs. Computers are also used in automated data entry, as they are highly accurate and can be programmed to fetch and transcribe data into the required medium.
Accurately keyed data is the base upon which the organization can perform analyses and make plans.
Manual data entry often requires good concentration and focus over a long duration of time, and this can prove physically and mentally challenging for data entry workers.