A data collection system that simulates a transaction processing environment. Instead of updating master files (customers, inventory, etc.) when orders or shipments are initiated, the transactions are stored in the computer. When a user makes a query, the master record from the previous update cycle is retrieved; but before it is displayed, it is updated in RAM and displayed with any transactions that may affect it. At the end of the day or period, the transactions are then actually batch processed against the master file. See batch processing.