DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF A COMPUTERIZED STAFF RECORD DEPARTMENT (CASE STUDY OF SOCSMAIT)
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Employee records may be defined as "record that contain initial application forms, results of physical examination, interviewers’ notations, test scores, periodical appraisals, transfer and promotions, disciplinary actions, releases and retiring wages, salaries, taxes paid, contributions and similar items" (Soveign, 1984). Some or all the following information may be also included in an employee file: full name, address telephone number, age and sex, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, membership in trade union etc. In many organizations these records are poorly organized and under-utilized despite the vital or important information contained there. Emerson (1984) argued that personnel records pose a particular problem because of their "bulk, longevity, and sensitivity."
Professional literature on archives and records management pays little or no attention at all to the subject of managing personnel records even though these files are substantial. In comparison to financial records, which have clear retention periods, personnel records do not seem to have well developed retention period.
Merriam – Webster dictionary (2014) defines computerization as the ability to carry out, control, or produce by means of a computer. Computerization is the use of computers, control systems and information technologies to optimize productivity in the production of goods and delivery of services. The correct incentive for applying computerization is to increase productivity, and/or quality beyond that possible with current human labor levels so as to realize economies of scale, and/or realize predictable quality levels. In this scope of industrialization, computerization is a step beyond mechanization. Whereas mechanization provides human operators with machinery to assist them with the muscular requirements of work, automation greatly decreases the need for human sensory and mental requirements while increasing load capacity, speed, and repeatability. Computerization plays an increasingly important role in the world economy and in daily experience. (Merriam – Webster, 2015).
A database is a collection of interrelated data (records) organized so that individual records or groups of records can be retrieved that satisfy various criteria. Typical examples include employee records and products catalogs. (Encyclopedia Britannica, 2015).
Mankind has been keeping records since the dawn of civilization. The oldest surviving examples of records made by humans are purely pictorial such as painting of animals, which dates back to more than 15,000 years ago. These methods of record keeping were mostly found in Spain and France.
However, as civilization developed, pictorial records changed into pictographic representations, such as hydro graphic used by Egyptians and subsequently into the alphabetic system we use today. Also, the changes from subsistence economies based on trade necessitated the recording of numerical and financial information as well as records of the people and events.
Similarly, the traditional office system used by most organizations consists of paper based filling systems, which comprised filling cabinets, folders, shelves that occupied considerable space, and also require maintenance/servicing frequently (Williams, 1994).
According to Ramez and Shamkant in their book titled “Fundamentals of database system” Databases were classified into 3 types, these are:
- The hierarchical model, in which record types are linked in a tree like structure (e.g., employee records might be grouped under a record describing the departments in which employees work).
- The network model, in which arbitrary linkages of record types may be created (e.g., employee records might be linked on one hand to employees departments and on the other hand to their supervisors - that is, other employees).
- The relational model, in which all data are represented in a simple tabular form.
In the relational model, the description of a particular entity is provided by the set of its attribute values, stored as one row of the table, or relation. This linkage of n attribute value to provide a meaningful description of a real-world entity or a relationship among such entities form a mathematical n-tuple, in database terminology, it is simply called a tuple. The relational approach also supports queries (request for information) that involve several tables by providing automatic linkage across tables by means of a “join” operation that combines records with identical values of common attributes. Payroll data, for example could be stored in one table and personnel benefits data in another, complete information on an employee could be obtained by joining the tables on the employee’s identification number. To support any of these database structures, a large piece of software known as a database management system (DBMS) is required to handle storage and retrieval of data (via the file management system, since the data are physically stored as files on a magnetic disk) and to provide the user with commands to query and update the database. The relational approach is currently the most popular, as older hierarchical data management systems, such as IMS, the information management system produced by IBM, are being replaced by relational database management systems such as IBM’s large mainframe system DB2 or the Oracle Corporation’s DBMS, which runs on large servers. Relational DBMS software is also available for workstations and personal computers.
The need for more powerful and flexible data models to support non business applications (e.g., scientific or engineering applications) has lead to extended relational data models in which table entries need not be simple values but can be programs, text, unstructured data in the form of binary large objects (BLOBs), or any other format the user requires. Another development has been the incorporation of the object concept that has become significant in programming languages. In object-oriented databases, all data are objects. Objects may be linked together by an “is-part-of” relationship larger, composite object. Data describing a truck, for instance may be stored as a composite of a particular engine, chassis, drive train, and so forth. Classes of objects may form a hierarchy in which individual objects may inherit properties from objects farther up in the hierarchy. For example, objects of the classes “motorized vehicle” all have an engine; members of subclasses such as “truck” or “airplane” will then also have an engine. Furthermore, engines are also data objects, and the engine attribute of a particular vehicle will be a link to a specific engine object. Multimedia databases, in which voice, music, and video are stored along with the traditional textual information, are becoming increasingly important and also are providing an impetus toward viewing data as objects, as are databases of pictorial images such as photographs or maps. The future of database technology is generally perceived to be a merging of relational and object-oriented views.
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT
Considering the limitation of a book keeping system usually employed in dealing with staff records in the School of Computer Science Mathematics and Information Technology (SOCSMAIT), a computerized database application would be greatly necessitated. This is because a central database server that would hold all staff records created would be stored. As a result staff records and information would easily be accessible from different locations provided they are connected to the central database server, thereby creating a less cumbersome staff record. In addition to the aforementioned, a computerized staff record would also assist staffs in the following problem areas;
- Poor statistics about a particular staff: this may be as a result of lost or misplaced staff files.
- Longer Waiting Time: The record clerk wastes so much time in bringing staff folders. In case the management needs the record for a particular staff, it takes the clerk time to manually organize the data and bring it to the destination where it is needed.
- Inaccurate Staff Report: Sometimes staff report are not properly stated and reported. This results to questionable report being sent to management for planning.
- Mishandling of Staff Folders: Staff folders are often handled with little or no regard. This leads to detaching and tearing away of some of the staff important documents.
1.3 AIM OF THE STUDY
The aim of this study is to computerize the necessary procedures involved in keeping staff records in a dedicated staff record department for SOCSMAIT. It represents an attempt to computerize a staff record department available for SOCSMAIT.
1.4 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
- To make information sharing as regards to staff records feasible, so that more than one department, in different locations can have access to staff records.
- To reduce paper work, thereby improving the efficiency of record keeping.
- To avoid time consuming searching for information or data not available on record.
- To reduce clerical work, where more than one clerk have to be employed to handle certain aspects of staff records and information.
- To integrate records of staffs from different departments within SOCSMAIT for management consumption, and also aid quick decision making.
1.5 JUSTIFICATION OF THE STUDY
This study intends to make use of available resources and database technology to create an easy to use application for convenient book keeping and staff records so as to minimize loss of data or information, and also to make staff records readily available.
1.6 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study covers the record of staffs in an organization, personal information, educational qualifications, job title and pay scale courses being taught as well as other relevant information.
1.7 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
This study as may be known is not an end in itself. In view of this, the study is limited to staff and staff records department within SOCSMAIT. This does not mean that an SOCSMAIT does not have other staff related functions, like students records. There are other departments that handle other student related issues. Another major constraint to this study is lack of time available to enable us carry out and extensive research.
1.8 DEFINITION OF TERMS
Computerize: Use of computers to carry out specific tasks or functions.
Staff: All the people employed by a particular organization.
Records: A thing constituting a piece of evidence about the past, especially an account kept in writing or some other permanent form.
Database: A structured set of data held in a computer, especially one that is accessible in many ways
Algorithm: A process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem solving operations, especially by a computer
SQL: Structured Query Language, an international standard for database manipulation.
Server: A computer or computer program that manages access to a centralized resource or service in a network
Desktop: The working area of a computer screen regarded as a representation of notional desktop containing icons representing items such as files and a wastebasket
Query: Ask a question about something, especially in order to express one’s doubt about it or to check its validity or accuracy.
Menu: A list of commands or options, especially one displayed on screen.
Password: A secret word or phrase that must be used to gain admission to something.