Despite modest e-book sales and the economic downturn, publishers are likely to maintain or increase the number of data conversion projects, according to slightly more than 80% of the respondents to a survey conducted recently by Data Conversion Laboratories.

Of course, the New York—based DCL is a text conversion firm. But the survey polled 105 content-holders in publishing (46), manufacturing, government and military organizations and found that almost 46% of respondents expected to increase the amount of data conversion in the next year, and more than 35% planned to maintain the same number of conversion projects. Another 18% reported that they would cut the number of projects.

XML, which allows content to be easily repurposed, is the format of choice for conversions. Some 24% of the respondents were converting to XML; 16% preferred the PDF format; 11% converted to SGML; and 17% use various combinations of formats with XML. Only 3% of respondents claimed they were converting data only to HTML.

However, all this text conversion doesn't necessarily mean more work for DCL. Almost 36% of the respondents said they planned to keep conversion projects in-house, while 32% intended to outsource all conversion, and 30% planned to use a combination of the two.

DCL president Mark Gross said, "Publishers recognize that data is the real jewel in the crown, and that electronic content preparation and repurposing is the key to the future of publishing." Gross continued, "Publishers know that prepping data for sophisticated multiuse and distribution, by converting it to XML and SGML right now, is more cost-effective, despite current economic conditions, than leaving their data the way it is."

For more information, visit the Data Conversion Laboratory Web site ( or call (718) 937-6162.