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Which is the better verb to use with data: feeding or entering?

Furthermore, which is more common in the literature of the field and which do people who work in the field say more often?

Are they used for different kinds of input systems? If the data are automatically continuously input by a machine (e.g., the Mars probe), is feeding data used, but if the data are individually input by someone at a keyboard (e.g., entering data into a user database), is entering data used?

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Both are correct in the context of grammar. –  RiMMER Dec 9 '12 at 2:57
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More important is "Which is more common in the literature of the field and which do people who work in the field say more often?" Another relevant question is whether they are used for different kinds of input systems. If the data are automatically continuously input by a machine (e.g., the Mars probe), is feeding data used, but if the data are individually input by someone at a keyboard (e.g., entering data into a user database), is entering data used? I don't know. Do you? –  user21497 Dec 9 '12 at 3:12
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This question is collecting downvotes because it's too vague. As @Bill implies, and as I'm certain is the case, different contexts normally use different words. Also don't forget that in the modern world, the very concept of entering/feeding data into systems is becoming a bit outdated. These days, the systems themselves are more likely to include data collection components - like fledged chicks, they go out and get their own "food", rather than waiting to be "fed". –  FumbleFingers Dec 9 '12 at 4:55
    
This is a right question asked in the wrong place. Should try SO. –  Kris Dec 9 '12 at 5:26
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I've expanded the question with Bill Franke's suggestions. –  Hugo Dec 9 '12 at 6:24
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2 Answers

Entering data is more appropriate when talking about inserting data into something (such as a spreadsheet or database) where it can be used later. Feeding data is more appropriate when utilizing data, such as in a computer program or report generator.

Your examples for the Mars Probe and a data entry person are correct. The probe sensors are feeding information to NASA. The person entering data on the computer is, well, entering data.

Using Google's ngrams to determine which is more common in literature:

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According to Oxford Dictionaries,

Feed: (2)Supply with material or power: a radial circuit fed by a 20 amp fuse (3)put into a machine: the programs are fed into the computer

I suggest using the word feed only when the data is going to be consumed and processed by the system. If the data is being put in just for storage or archiving, insert or enter would be more appropriate.

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Are you sure you mean the OED and not Oxford Dictionaries Pro? –  Barrie England Dec 11 '12 at 9:26
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It’s a little confusing, but the online version of the OED is here: oed.com –  Barrie England Dec 11 '12 at 15:46
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Oxford Dictionaries Online and the Oxford English Dictionary are different publications. –  Barrie England Dec 12 '12 at 7:43
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The OED requires a paid subscription. –  Barrie England Dec 12 '12 at 8:52
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@Chris. Do you mean the same content as in the printed version? I haven't compared the two, but I suspect anyone with a serious interest in English will only use the online version. That's because it's easier to use, and because it's subject to a rolling programme of revision. –  Barrie England Dec 16 '12 at 19:39
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