A clipboard is a thin board that is typically slightly larger than a pad of standard sheets of paper, with a large (typically metal) clip at the top. It is used to rigidly support the pad of paper with one hand, while writing on it with the other. Clipboards are typically used in situations where one is not assured of finding good writing surfaces. Another use that was typical before the era of personal computers (which brought about word processing and computer graphics) was to hold pieces of text and art that had been clipped with scissors from one sheet of paper to be pasted with paste onto another sheet. This use provided the analogy and terminology for computer clipboards.
Many police officers carry clipboards. Police clipboards are designed for constant use, and are usually made of metal, having one or two compartments designed for filing documents and reports while in transit.