Collective memory and Q2ID, Markzware‘s InDesign plugin for data conversion to convert Quark to InDesign, including Adobe InDesign CS5:
Markzware Q2ID LogoNow that digital records and documents are the norm, it is well-known that much of contemporary history will be lost to succeeding generations as standards change, computer products come and go, and storage media, over time, become corrupt. Current software often is unable to read earlier versions of the same product. For example, Apple’s Final Cut Pro X is unable to import files from previous versions of the same program. Adobe InDesign CS5 cannot open files created in early versions of PageMaker, a predecessor to the current program. Even when data is properly backed up and secured in multiple copies, problems can reappear when one goes to retrieve the data. Ghost 15, for example, is a good backup program, but the backup is useless when the user upgrades to a different computer — the backup works only on the same computer.

There is a corresponding hardware tale as well, as we look back on long gone floppy, DAT, and SCSI drives. Compatibility and longevity issues of this nature have proliferated because of planned obsolescence; merger, acquisition, and failure of companies; improvements in operating systems, and generally, technological innovation.

Although no one knows what the future will hold, we can take the past as a reasonable proxy of the sorts of difficulty likely to emerge in coming years. For this reason I thought that it would be interesting to see how many of my own files from 20-30 years ago are still readable and whether they can be brought into an archive for instant retrieval. Finally, I am confronting my procrastination about these files, which I am ready neither to discard nor to repurpose. At least, I expect to save space from the obsolete hardware and software that I have kept, in case I ever want to go back to these files.

Adobe InDesign CS5, I decided, would be the best repository for this data, since it imports a wide variety of data types, and, just for current work, I intend to keep updating CS5 as its new versions come out. However, some of my most important files were in Quark XPress, and there was no easy way to import them into CS5, until I learned of Q2ID. Q2ID not only converted my Quark 9 files, but, impressively, can convert each version of Quark, since Quark 4 first released in 1997. By the pace of IT change, this period is an eon.

Q2ID warned of font changes in the conversion, but so did Quark when I went from Quark 3 to 4, as I had to in preparation for Q2ID. Graphics embedded in the Quark documents converted to InDesign only when the document originated from a Mac, but for PC-originated documents, the conversion left a window in which I could paste the graphics without resizing them. Formatting from Quark was preserved to the point that, so far, no changes get my attention. In short, Q2ID is a tool that offers hope for an era beset with perishable data.

Excerpted with permission from forthcoming article by Lawrence Kingsley, a journalist based in Cambridge, MA. He recently edited and published an e-book found at http://www.scribd.com/doc/47300283/QoS-Myths-and-Hype and other online stores.

Q2ID AND COLLECTIVE MEMORY: Convert Quark to InDesign

Quark to InDesign data conversion with Markzware’s InDesign plugin


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