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This programme is a tour of the various offices involved in OCL's container operation so as to recreate the steps by which the firm constructed a data model of the operation prior to setting up a database.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: M352, Computer based information systems
Item code: M352; 04
First transmission date: 11-05-1980
Published: 1980
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:25:00
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Producer: John Jaworski
Contributors: Brian Barber; Peter Hitchcock; Christine Warner
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Birmingham; Container control; Containers; Data modelling; Freight; IBM; Overseas containers; Southampton Port Office; Telex; Trailer park
Footage description: The programme opens with film of OCL containers being loaded onto a ship at Southampton. In voice-over Christine Warner briefly describes the extent and complexity of OCL's container operation and explains that they are introducing a database. The programme will retrace some of OCL's steps in data modelling. Interview with Brian Barber, OCL's Data Processing Manager. He explains why they opted for several different databases rather than model one large database for the whole business. Warner explains that this programme will examine just one of these, the container control system. Film of containers being loaded and being transported by road and rail, over which Warner explains the function of the container control system. Further interview with Barber who emphasises the importance of including the user's needs in the database. From the OCL terminal at Southampton Warner introduces Malcolm Coomer, Manager of OCL's Southampton Port Office. Coomer explains what data his office needs to control one night's load of containers for export. Over film of various office activities Warner explains the existing, pre-database system, whereby all the data is stored on a display of moveable cards. Coomer explains how the location of the cards indicates the location of each container. Shots of containers arriving by road and rail at the Southampton terminal. In voice-over Warner explains how arrival at the terminal is recorded on the display board. Warner briefly explains the difference between functional analysis and data analysis. In interview Peter Hitchcock of IBM shows how to construct a data model of the OCL operation at Southampton. The model represents the information on OCL's display of moveable cards. Interview with Peter Smith, OCL's European Container Manager, who explains what information is required to control the transport of containers overseas. Aerial views of a container ship leaving port, then of OCL's marketing office. Smith explains how containers are assigned to specific sailings. Warner briefly describes OCL's existing system whereby voyage data is sent to Southampton via telex. Peter Hitchcock develops his earlier data model to include information about the voyage on which a container is to be shipped. Christine Warner briefly stresses the need to consult users, a theme also emphasised in interview by Data Processing Manager Brian Barber. Shots of OCL's regional office in Birmingham, where as Warner explains, OCL have to match individual containers to customers' requirements. Clerks are seen taking customers' orders. Shots of containers stacked in the trailer park at Birmingham. Interview with Mike Body who describes the different kinds of containers and how customers' special requirements are handled. Shots of office activities, over which Warner and Body explain - how general, non-specialised containers are controlled and allocated. Another interview with Hitchcock, who shows how data on customers' special requests can be fitted into the model of OCL's container control system. He concludes by showing us a diagram covering the global model of this particular database. Warner rounds off the programme with suggestions about how students can do further work on this data model on their own.
Production number: 00525_4274
Videofinder number: 1379
Available to public: no