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Data Conversion Laboratory Converts Historic French Encyclopedias for the University of Chicago

Fresh Meadows, NY – June 16, 2009: Data Conversion Laboratory, Inc. (DCL), providing conversion services and software to publishers, information aggregators, industry, government, libraries and documentation developers, has been selected by the University of Chicago to provide the imaging and conversion of two French encyclopedias, Bibliothèque Bleue de Troyes and Encyclopédie méthodique par ordre des matières, in conjunction with the University’s ARTFL Project.

The Bibliothèque Bleue de Troyes spans more than 250 years, involving publication of mass-produced, inexpensive books sold to peasants for pennies by colporteurs (peddlers). Texts ranged from the practical (recipes, almanacs, how-to books) to the pious (hagiographies, prayer books, other religious instruction) to the entertaining (fiction, romans de chevalerie, songbooks, burlesque), providing a unique insight into the popular culture of 17th to mid-19th century France.

Images created from the 12,156 pages constituting the Bibliothèque Bleue de Troyes were supplied to DCL.  DCL then split, cropped, despeckled and deskewed the images. Finally, utilizing the TEI Lite specification provided by ARTFL, DCLcreated an XML-tagged fully searchable file.

The 206-volume Encyclopédie méthodique par ordre des matières ("Methodical encyclopedia by order of subject matter"), published between 1782 and 1832 by the French publisher Charles Joseph Panckoucke, and his daughter, Thérèse-Charlotte Agasse was a revised and expanded version, arranged by subject matter, of the originally alphabetically-arranged Encyclopédie, compiled by Denis Diderot.

DCL converted the first of three volumes on Architecture compiled by Antoine Quatremère de Quincy, some 3,000 pages. Working from provided TIFF page images, DCL created the searchable file utilizing the TEI Lite specification supplied by ARTFL.  DCL will convert the other two volumes once the microfiche versions are made available.

Commenting on the project Mark Olsen, Assistant Director, ARTFL, said: “It is always a pleasure to work with Data Conversion Laboratory. They have a solid grasp of the complexities of encoding early modern documents from less than perfect original representations and are willing to work closely with our staff to resolve even the most mundane details. Indeed, on numerous occasions, the DCLstaff has raised questions about encoding and work flows that we had not thought of, which always improves the quality of the data capture and the products we can release to our users."

Mark Gross, DCL President and CEO, responded: “After 28 years in the data conversion business we have worked with almost every type and condition of text. We appreciate the trust that The University of Chicago has placed in us, and we look forward to continuing to work with these interesting and important collections.”

About Data Conversion Laboratory, Inc.

Founded in 1981, Data Conversion Laboratory, Inc. converts and organizes content to create electronic documents, populate databases and publish on the web, maintaining long – term strategic relationships with its clients preparing for tomorrow’s technology. DCL operates with facilities on four continents, providing support services for high-volume data-entry and data-processing using its real-time web-accessible process control software. DCL converts from any format to any format, and has processed more than a quarter of a billion pages.

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