computer card sorting method

I don't even know how to begin searching for this since I'm not sure what the key search term would be. Can anyone direct me towards an earlier thread on a hole punch method for sorting large volumes of cards --by topic-- based on the either the number or placement of holes for the topic in question?

I'm foggy on the details but essentially you would sort the cards using a rod threaded through the holes which correlated to to the topic being sorted for.


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I don't know about the

I don't know about the thread, but the website article can be found here.

card sorting

When I was in grad school (many years ago, don't ask) many of us used a punch card system to gather and sort data. The cards were roughly 3x8 in. and had a series of little numbers in circles that ran around the perimeter. The researcher assigned meaning to each number. You wrote your notes on the card then punched through the relevant numbered holes. For example, say you were interviewing a group of people and wanted to be able to sort by what the interviewee said and their age or gender or some other combination of factors. You would assign the circles to meaningful data categories for your research. Hole #1=male interviewee, #2=female, #3=adolescent, #4 adult aged 20-30, #5 adult aged 70-80, #33 answered "yes" to interview question 8, etc. You punched all the numbered circles that applied to that note. Then, to sort the data, you used a knitting needle looking device to gather all the cards with a certain hole punched, then repeated that action to find subsets within your set. I used it for about a month then moved onto that new and exciting tool on campus, the mainframe computer! It took a while to write a basic program for sorting data but hey, it was better than punching all those little holes and jabbing myself with the knitting needle thingy. I can't remember the name of the cards but I'll see if google will be my friend and find it.

keysort cards

I found an example of these cards. Google was my friend. don't know how to do the linkify thing.

picture of "Data Punch Cards"

Thanks for the picture, it makes it much easier to visualize just how a homebrewed version would work. E.g: how important the placement of the holes is, and how the right container would help implement the system.


About those punch-card holes!

Hi everyone,

My dad was a scientist, and used a bunch of these cards to organize his journal abstracts under a variety of categories. His cards had a double row of holes around the edges, and when used with an awl-like sorting device, one could differentiate between four different card codings for each pair of holes: (1) cards not punched in any way for the pair of holes, (2) cards with a channel punched between the outer hole and the card edge, (3) cards with a channel punched just between the two holes, and cards with a channel punched from the inner hole, through the outer hole, and out to the card edge. A fascinating system!