Forms provide office workers with powerful guidelines for data specification and recognition. Thoughtful arrangement of data in a form visually reinforces the meanings of specific entries of data items. Preprinted horizontal and vertical lines and labeled rows and columns also facilitate office workers’ data entry and understanding. Time required for paper work can also be greatly reduced, since routine documentation procedures are omitted with the use of preprinted formats.
Forms contribute to standardization of office data presentation, specification, and manipulation. Predetermined formats in forms prescribe the presentation and specification of office data. In addition, it is usually the case that the design of forms is tightly related to that of procedures involved in daily office data manipulation. In many business and engineering fields, such standardization brought about by the use of forms has had a positive impact on productivity of office activities [7, 27, 83].
In both business and engineering applications, office work is usually performed from a number of viewpoints. For example, an order-processing application is composed of a number of more primitive tasks such as customer information management, order taking, shipping, and payment. As another example, the specification of software system design is done from viewpoints concerning system functions, data flow, control flow, and so on. Normally, in both cases, the attention of a worker can be focused on only one facet of an entire application or system at a time. Forms are often used purposely to limit the scope of office workers and engineers. In other words, forms can be seen as windows through which workers can look at the target of current interest. In this way, forms pack a set of relevant data from certain viewpoints. Therefore, they greatly facilitate modular manipulation of a very large amount of office data.
In offices today, it is a basic requirement to manipulate office data combining diagrams, text, images, and so on, as well as alphanumeric data. Forms, being very general frameworks for data packing, can be used in combination with such complex data.
KeywordsRelational Algebra Thomas Model Relational Data Model Nest Relation Form Manipulation
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