Pen Computers and Digital Forms

By Phillips, John T., Jr. | ARMA Records Management Quarterly, April 1994 | Go to article overview

Pen Computers and Digital Forms


Phillips, John T., Jr., ARMA Records Management Quarterly


Personal computers that use a pen or stylus for data input (rather than the traditional keyboard or mouse) are gaining in popularity as the technology matures and finds successful applications. Using a "pen" to perform handwritten notes directly on a computer screen, to place check marks in boxes on screen forms, or to draw screen diagrams that can be stored on disk has a tremendous ease-of-use appeal. The possibility of reducing paperwork and improving the accuracy of data collection are real opportunities that may be realized if applications are well planned and the technology is implemented in a realistic manner. The familiar and flexible utility of pencil and paper is in stark contrast to the glaring screens and awkward keyboards that accompany most computers. For this reason, it is natural to expect that the marriage of pen(cil)s and computers should bring out the best of both worlds. However, as with most extremely new technology, one must be cautioned against inappropriate expectations.

Applications for using pens with computers abound. The most common and obvious applications are those that require convenient information tools due to worker mobility. A sales force in the field talking with customers, warehouse employees taking inventories, and nurses on the move performing patient examinations all need hand-held devices to build and interact with forms and databases of information. Records managers could use pen-enabled portable computers to perform retention schedule development with departmental customers, to take inventories of organizational records, or to deliver automated presentations about procedures and policies to their clientele or management. Due to their small size and quiet convenience, small pen based computers can allow interaction with customers without having to type while talking, thus enhancing both communication and documentation.

PENS, PENCILS, AND COMPUTERS

Pen enabled computers use a touch sensitive screen that can accept input from a special pen or stylus when it is pressed against the screen. The location where the pen touches the computer screen transmits digital information that is accepted by the computer's processor as the screen digitizes each action of the user. The computer can record drawings and handwriting or accept taps on special areas of the screen that resemble keys or buttons. Pen movements have advantages over keyboards and even some mouse or trackball operations as one can select objects or words by tapping, circling, or simply making an "X" over the item for movement, duplication, or deletion. When jotting down brief notes or making quick drawings on a computer small enough to be held like a clipboard, these are natural movements and thus more intuitive than typing or "mousing" around. Software can then become very easy-to-use. "The ability to wrap words seems to be a favorite feature of the earliest InkWriter (software) users, who can insert handwritten words into the middle of a word processing document that was originated in either InkWriter or a keyboard-based word processor and automatically wrap the original text around the addition."(1)

Except for a few occasional small taps on a screen, pen computers are generally silent. This can certainly be appreciated by individuals that have attended meetings where several high-tech attendees were simultaneously pecking and clicking on their keyboards to take notes on their laptops. Try to imagine a large library reading room with everyone clicking away as they take electronic notes. It wouldn't leave much silence for any solitude while reading. Being able to write on a tablet held in one's hand has numerous advantages. How many laptop (keyboard) users can open their computer, look up a phone number, and write down a few notes when making a phone call from a telephone booth? Such actions are performed with ease on a small hand-held pen based computer referred to as a personal digital assistant (PDA).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Pen Computers and Digital Forms
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.