I know that this question has come up in the past, and I believe there are
vendors out there who claim to provide this service. I  know nothing,
however, of the results of their efforts. Hopefully others on this list will
provide the details.

Meanwhile, I'd just like to say that I think this is a very important topic,
and would be interested in seeing a couple of things come of it in the
coming months:

1.  Someone maintain a running list, on the web, of vendors who claim to
provide conversion services,  possibly with references to institutions who
are using those services;

2. Some kind of discussion at SAA about the pros and cons of this approach.
Clearly, the body of legacy files out there is tremendous, and repositories
have limited resources of staff time to devote to conversion.  Also,
conversion is not as easy as it might seem and needs to be well thought out
ahead of time. Those of us who have undertaken major conversion efforts (the
recently announced Yale site includes over 200 Beinecke Library registers)
unquestionably have learned a lot in the process. While we're still
learning, what we've already learned  can be of use to others just starting
out, whether or not they are  contemplating engaging a vendor to do this
work for them.  Others, who may have undertaken to convert registers FOR
other repositories also would have have something to contribute to such a
discussion.   So, we might be able to come up with some kind of document
that provides guidance to both repositories and vendors, to help along the
conversion of legacy data, which is important to us all.

Are there others out there of a similar mind?

Nicole Bouche
Manuscript Unit Head
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
Yale University
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At 09:16 AM 5/20/97 -0400, you wrote:
>   Has anyone on the list investigated the idea of having a sizable
>   collection of finding aids converted to EAD on a contractual basis,
>   using an SGML data conversion vendor (or anyone else, for that matter)?
>   Who, if anyone, is offering this service?  What has been the experience
>   using contractors?
>   Given the varying degree of uniformity for finding aids at any large
>   repository, and the many different ways EAD tags can be assigned, is it
>   practical to consider farming out this work -- or any part of it?
>   My understanding is that some EAD conversion has been from
>   word-processed finding aids, but this has been in-house work.  Would any
>   institution or individual with this experience be willing to take on
>   this type of work (or some portion of it) for other institutions on a
>   contractual basis?
>   Bob Kenselaar
>   New York Public Library