paper tape

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paper tape

[′pā·pər ′tāp]
(computer science)
A paper ribbon in which data may be represented by means of partially or completely punched holes.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

paper tape

(hardware, history)
Punched paper tape. An early input/output and storage medium borrowed from telegraph and teletype systems.

Data entered at the keyboard of the teletype could be directed to a perforator or punch which punched a pattern of holes across the width of a paper tape to represent the characters typed. The paper tape could be read by a tape reader feeding the computer. Computer output could be similarly punched onto tape and printed off-line.

As well as storage of the program and data, use of paper tape enabled batch processing.

The first units had five data hole positions plus a sprocket hole (for the driving wheel) across the width of the tape. These used commercial telegraph code (ITA2 also known as Murray), Baudot code, or proprietary codes such as Elliott which were more programmer-friendly. Later systems had eight data holes and used ASCII coding.
This article is provided by FOLDOC - Free Online Dictionary of Computing (

paper tape

(1) A slow, low-capacity, sequential storage medium used on earlier computing and communications devices. Paper tape holds data as patterns of punched holes.

(2) A paper roll printed by a calculator or cash register.

Paper Tape
Paper tape was widely used in the early years of computing as a storage medium. Its capacity of only a handful of characters per inch seems pitiful by today's storage standards.

Paper Tape on a Flexowriter
In the 1950s, this typewriter-like device was used to punch data into tape for the Whirlwind and SAGE computers (see Whirlwind and SAGE). For validation, another operator might type the data all over again having the machine compare a second set of keystrokes with the already-punched tape. (Image courtesy of The MITRE Corporation Archives.)
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References in periodicals archive ?
Digitized route maps were stored on magnetic tape cartridges rather than on punched paper tapes, and an on-board minicomputer compared vehicle location with subscriber locations along the route and signaled where to toss newspapers.
As in the paper tape option, this option assures the appraiser the correct information was entered.
In the second phase, the sewn bag is moved to the tape over Sewing (TOS) equipment, using a 60mm wide pre-coated paper tape with either a coating of hot melt adhesive or a PE coating, depending on applications.
He began experimenting with the diaphragm of a telephone receiver by attaching a needle to it, reasoning the needle could prick paper tape to record a message.
But now the evolution of technology is changing the relationship between cost and performance and, much like punch cards and paper tape, tape-based backup carries a lot of hidden costs and hassles that make it increasingly less than ideal.
Materials: Brown construction paper, oaktag, glue sticks, bright colored construction paper, colored paper tape, oil pastels, crayons, felt-tip markers, feathers, glue.
As a research student in the 1960s I made a small contribution to the beginnings of computer applications in architecture by writing software -- in Fortran IV -- and submitting it on punched paper tape to a mainframe computer that occupied an entire building.
Use fast-set plaster and paper tape cover over all the joints in the plasterboard, and use special corner tape (paper tape with two metal strips) which form a neat finish.
He said that for years M and G codes were ideal for transmitting information to CNC machine tools when paper tape was the only medium available.
Core memory, which was a mere 4 kilobytes back in the 1960s, has expanded, while hard drives are able to store programs that used to be fed into the instruments on paper tape.
This also works well with paper tape. When it is time to remove, we just moisten with a warm washcloth and all of the tape lifts off.
The military did not adopt the technique at the time, however, because it relied on paper tape to implement.