Historical Background

  • Hiroyuki Kitagawa
  • Tosiyasu L. Kunii
Part of the Computer Science Workbench book series (WORKBENCH)


One of the most important issues in current office automation research is computer-based manipulation of office forms. Here, we interpret the terms office and form in a wide sense. The term office includes not only the conventional clerical office but also the engineering design office, sales expert’s office, business consultant’s office, clinical business office, and any other office where paper work is done. Thus we interpret the term form as any sheet of paper which has predetermined purposes of documentation. Traditionally, a variety of forms have been devised and utilized in office data handling. The main reasons for such widespread use of forms are summarized as follows:
  1. 1.

    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.

  2. 2.

    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].

  3. 3.

    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.

  4. 4.

    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.



Relational Algebra Thomas Model Relational Data Model Nest Relation Form Manipulation 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroyuki Kitagawa
    • 1
  • Tosiyasu L. Kunii
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of Information Sciences and ElectronicsUniversity of TsukubaTsukuba, IbarakiJapan
  2. 2.Department of Information Science, Faculty of ScienceThe University of TokyoBunkyo-ku, TokyoJapan

Personalised recommendations