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In the spring of 1981 the authors decided to study an operational problem at the IBM San Jose Research Laboratory. A variety of typewriters and terminal equipment installed in offices throughout the Laboratory had been acquired over a period of time for use by administrative and secretarial workers. As part of planning for an expansion of physical facilities, a committee compiled an inventory of this equipment. Those on the committee recognized the need to understand how the equipment was actually used if they were to make intelligent recommendations about what equipment should be provided for the secretarial and administrative support staff in the future.
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