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Data entry

Data entry definition

Data entry is the act of entering information into a computer, database, or application. It can be done manually by a person typing in the data, and it can also be an automated process where machines or software perform most or all of the tasks. Data entries are necessary for many businesses to ensure their records are digitized, updated, and easily accessible.

We enter data into systems multiple times per day. When you’re grocery shopping, the cashier scanning the barcodes is entering data into an application. Likewise, hospital staff input your details into the medical system. Or when someone joins a company, the HR department will update its records with a new data entry.

See also: data administration, data migration, data source

Data entry history

With computers becoming more common in the 20th century, people needed to digitize records and information more. Such an increase in demand created a new data entry profession. Early data entry was done using punch cards before transitioning to keyboard-based systems.

Advantages of using data entry

  • Data entry moves information from paper to digital, making it easier to store and retrieve.
  • Digitized data can be sorted, analyzed, and accessed faster than manual records.
  • With proper validation checks, digital data entry can reduce errors.
  • Moving to digital records can lower costs related to storage, printing, and mailing.
  • Digital data can be quickly analyzed to identify trends, predict customer behaviors, and optimize operations.
  • Digitized data can be used multiple times for different purposes, saving time and improving efficiency.

Disadvantages of using data entry

  • Manual data entry can be sensitive to human errors like typos or omissions.
  • The repetitive nature of data entry can lead to boredom or decreased attention to detail.
  • Digitized data can be vulnerable to breaches or unauthorized access.