Logo: PunchCardReader.com. Card Reader Service for 80-Column IBM Punch Cards

Recovery service for your legacy data and programs

Possibly the last business on Earth that can turn your punch cards back into a database.

open to the public — and the world

since 2005

Do you have old data or old programs on 80-column keypunch cards?

We handle punch cards from diverse backgrounds: Old corporate databases, business records, financial accounts,
historical archives, software, dissertations, and raw data from the sciences are all locked away in this cryptic outdated format.
We can convert them to electronic form.

Modern data processing can bring your punch cards back to life. Your data deserves to be more visible, more accessible, more readable, more searchable.

We read computer punch cards. Let us recover your lost data for you.

Features and Sample Output

Do people still use punch cards?
Say hello to our list of clients. You know some of them by name.

click to enlarge

How is output provided?
You will receive: The finished data will be sent to you electronically, by web and by e-mail.
How good is your accuracy?
Far, far better than a typist.
Every punch card is analyzed by two versions of our imaging software. The results are compared and then passed through our statistical anomaly detection software, and a human reviews anything suspicious. Next, your cards are inspected by an expert in ancient data practices and encodings.

40-year-old typos, caught and highlighted by a 21st Century computer.
The yellow columns contain a sequence number which the customer had thought was in order.
Our computer didn’t just find the error — it figured out what the typist intended.

Can your card reader do that?

The software has intuition. It’s not exactly AI, but it’s close.
Our process is automated, it’s thorough, it has sex appeal, and it’s included in the regular price.

Customers are saying:

We lost our column headings. We don’t know what our numbers mean. Can you help us?
Yes, probably. One of our clients sent us this mystery data. It looked pretty random:
But we figured it out:
And here’s how we did it: [more...]
We need our data converted to Excel format. Can you help?
Sure. By default, we will output exactly what’s on the card, as text, with nothing added. But if you need a spreadsheet, we can do that.
When you submit your cards, please indicate which columns are meant to be separate fields, and what their data types are.
    1-6    numeric
    7      ignore 
    8-12   numeric 
    13     numeric 
    14-72  alpha 
    73-80  ignore 
We also speak SPSS and Fortran:
    Name        A20
    Rank        I3
    Serial No.  I6 
    ZIP Code    I5
    Latitude    F6.2
    Barometer   F5.2 
You’ll receive a CSV file and an XLS spreadsheet. Excel conversion is per card.
Do you do data entry?
If your cards have handwritten notes or symbols on them, we’ll capture those and add them to the output file. Labor charges may apply. We can also do photo capture and include the images in the final spreadsheet.
Can I scan my cards instead of mailing them?
This tends to be harder work (for you and for us) than the mail-in method, and so we will only consider archivists and document professionals with large orders and special scanners. To see if you are eligible, visit the Method 2 page.
Couldn’t I just type the text printed on the cards? Couldn’t I just OCR the text? Couldn’t I just buy a used card reader? Couldn’t I just train a student to read the holes in the cards? Couldn’t I just build a card reader out of a Coke bottle and a windshield wiper? Couldn’t I just ....
Uh... You care about accuracy, right? Our world-class clients have a real business need to recover and reuse their data. Our image processing apps were written by a professional computer scientist and tested and refined and expanded for years. Our customers expect expertise, accuracy, and data analysis that magically finds their typos and exposes long-forgotten errors. We give them that. Reading the little holes in the cards was just the beginning. But hey, good luck making a lens out of that Coke bottle. ;^) When you’re serious about recovering your data perfectly, you know where to find us.
How long does processing take?
Once we receive your cards, card reading usually takes one week per box. After that, we often look for quick ways to “frost the cake” by creating special formats and custom colorizations to make your data look its best.
Do you accept credit cards?
Yes. PayPal is our credit card processor. At the appropriate time, after the work is done, we will press a button, and PayPal will show you a secure online payment form, where you may type your credit card number. Please do not send your credit card number directly to us.
Do I need a PayPal account?
No. At payment time, you will see a payment window that looks like this. That is all.
Does shipping cost a lot?
Surprise: A standard box of 2000 cards weighs under 12 pounds and can be mailed for in the USA
(that’s a third of a penny per card).
When you’re ready to ship, ask us for our address and our page of shipping tips.
Better still, click here and we’ll send you one of our easy shipping boxes!
Why didn’t you answer my e-mail?
You must be using Gmail. Look in your Spam folder. Gmail (Google Mail) sometimes blocks mail from new contacts.
If you’ll send a short e-mail to the address below, Gmail should add us to your whitelist.
Do you sell punch cards?
Yes. Please visit our online store.
You won’t drop or shuffle or damage my cards, will you?
Polite customers are sometimes eligible for discounts.
What is your minimum order?
No minimum this month — we can do 10 cards or 10 boxes.
cards. You are still welcome to send fewer cards, with the understanding that the minimum charge for Method 1 is for cards.

The minimum charge for Method 2 is for 10,000 cards.

Other Questions?


Logo: PunchCardReader.com. Card Reader Service for 80-Column IBM Punch Cards

Copyright © 2005-2016  J. E. Brown   all rights reserved.

In the secret city of Los Alamos, New Mexico USA.