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Databases and data capture

Data capture

Before setting up a database [database: a structured collection of records or data stored in a computer system ] the data [data: information without context, eg a list of students with numbers beside their names is data, when it's made clear that those numbers represent their placing in a 100 metre race, the data becomes information ] must be collected. This can be done using a data capture form [data capture form: a method for collecting data ].

A data capture form is designed to collect specific data.

A form completed by a customer buying a car from a showroom is an example of a data capture form.

Includes fields for registration number, make, model, date first registered (with boxes marked DD, MM, YY for date, month and year), price in pounds (£), and if it was taxed (options are Y for yes and N for no)

An example of a data capture form for a car showroom

Data capture forms often use boxes or a set amount of spaces and occasionally provide examples too. This is to make sure each field is completed correctly.

Data is often entered as a code in a database, for example in the above data capture form Y is used for Yes and N for No. Codes like this are used because they:

  • are quicker to type in
  • use less disk space
  • are easy to validate
  • make searching the database easier as data is entered in a standard format

Back to Data, information and databases index

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