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View From My Desk | October 2021

by Mark Gross, President, Data Conversion Laboratory

It was 40 years ago today that Data Conversion Laboratory was established with the simple mission to support business communication by transforming outdated proprietary content formats into a modern proprietary format. The IBM PC was just out, 360K floppy disks were the coin of the realm, and there was no internet to speak of. There were some early attempts at markup language, but nothing standardized—no SGML, no XML. But DCL was doing digital transformation, before it was a term of art. We simply felt that business communication was foundational for healthy enterprise.

Judy and Mark Gross in 1988 at Data Conversion Laboratory in Fresh Meadows, New York
Judy and Mark Gross, 1988

The fact that I am writing this and you are reading it fills me with gratitude for the health of my company and yours. While DCL has supported so many changes to data and content formats, we recognize that change itself is the lifeblood of business continuity. And we have all certainly navigated an awesome amount of change in just 20 short months! Following are just a few things we’ve been working on here at DCL since I last reached out.

Supporting New Markets Our work in the life sciences market has increased and we are proud about

  • Transforming a biotech customer’s clinical trials documentation into searchable structured text to help find the proverbial "needles in the haystack"

  • Increasing our SPL (structured product labeling) conversions, which ensure pharma listings are filed with the FDA

  • Supporting a major pharma company with the transition from Word to XML for packaging insert material, which will streamline patient communication and ensure accuracy

Launching New Solutions for Existing Markets We continue to develop new solutions and expand the functionality of existing ones

  • Content Clarity is a new service offering that helps publishers improve access and discoverability by identifying structural issues in their content repository

  • Harmonizer 4.0 will be released early next month with a new monthly licensing model to run your own content reuse analysis

Educating Customers and Prospective Customers To help with getting information out to the community, DCL made a concerted effort to expand on its DCL Learning Series to cover topics that relate to content and data conversion, with an instructional twist. In the past 8 months alone we produced 13 webinars, covering topics such as PubMed, artificial intelligence, metadata, semantics, and much more. Looking Forward to New Technologies But more than looking back, looking forward is what excites me. Our engineering team is creating amazing advances that combine our methodologies with new AI techniques. DCL offers practical applications that bring AI, natural language processing, machine learning, and supervised machine learning into your organization.

  • Automated training sets – we use automation to identify relevant structures and create datasets that support your own machine learning initiatives

  • Data harvesting – robotic scans across website content (HTML, PDF, XML, XLS, Word, etc.) with automated XML transforms and feeds back to your systems

  • Supervised machine learning – a deep learning system that identifies tables and math equations in PDF and image files in order to create structured XML tables and structured (and searchable) MathML

I can not guarantee that today’s content formats will be tomorrow’s formats. But I can assure you that DCL will continuously evolve its expertise in new content structures and related technologies. And we will deliver it with the exceptional customer service for which we are known. Thank you for being a part of our history.


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