Collecting Hardware


Text is the most common way of representing data and a keyboard is the most commonly used device for collecting it. Most keyboards use the QWERTY layout of the keys.2 All characters, such as letters, numerals, punctuation keys, spaces and special symbols, are converted into binary using a standard method of conversion, such as ASCII and EBCDIC. These work by assigning each character to a decimal number and converting this number into binary code.
Alternative keyboards have been developed such as Dvork which is claimed to quicker data entry.

Advantages Disadvantages
Commonly available, Most people are trained to use the QWERTY layout. Relatively slow, Can cause RSI – Repetitive strain injury with repeated use.

Voice Recognition:

Voice recognition identifies spoken words instead of keystrokes. By speaking into a microphone the data collection is faster and more reliable than a keyboard. Voice recognition picks up each individual, short sound called a phoneme which makes up the spoken language. This is easier than indentifying each word but different people tend to pronounce the same phonemes differently which is the main problem. When using voice recognition it involves a period of training where the computer can learns how you pronounce words.
Other factors that are important: position of the microphone, volume and speed and the tones of your voice.


Document Scanners:

The problem with keyboards and voice recognition is that errors can be made. An alternative is an optical scanner (document scanner) which can enter large quantities of text. The sheet is scanned and the image is sent to the computer as a bit mapped image. OCR (optical character recognition) software then processes the image to identify the text which is then stored as a word processing document.

Advantages Disadvantages
Software can be taught to read a wide vocabulary, More ergonomic than a keyboard Needs good software to minimise errors :(ambiguous characters( 1 and I )similar character shapes ( U and V )),- The documents need to be clear and well organised as this makes it easier to read.

Most of these problems can be corrected in the word processing document with spell and grammar checks.