Open Formats – I'm Moving all Mom's Poetry to Open Document Format

As I’ve mentioned, my wife’s mother is Poet Laureate of Temiskaming District. Mom is a truly prolific poet, with close to 6,000 poems to her name. Originally all of her poems were written with pen and paper, and Dad, my father-in-law collected them into a series of books. Later he transcribed them into a DOS computer, and then later a Windows computer. Over the years, he used Lotus Smart Suite, Word Perfect, Microsoft Works, Lotus Symphony, and probably other software packages that I don’t know about. Since Dad passed away three years ago, I’ve taken over part of his work, keeping Mom’s poetry backed up safely (and keeping her computer running).

Each of the software packages mentioned used different, incompatible, file formats. Tonight, looking over her collection, I realized that I have a problem, and that it has got to the point where I don’t have any choice. I have to transfer all 10,000 poems into Open Document Format, so they will be accessible forever. It’s going to be a lot of work, but in the long run it will pay off. Unfortunately that means that the poems won’t be accessible to anyone using Microsoft Office, since Microsoft’s implementation of ODF showed a level of incompetence that was beyond belief.

Of course if you do want access to Mom’s poetry, you can just go to OpenOffice.Org, and download Open Office at no cost. There’s no reason you can’t have both Microsoft Office and Open Office installed on the same computer.

If you would like to read some of Mom’s poems (in Open Document Format) from the last year of the 20th century, click here.

Wayne Borean

Tuesday January 19, 2010


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