This paper examines the problem many researchers experience of having to spend much time rekeying records obtained from external online and CD‐ROM databases into their own personal microcomputer databases. An overview of the possibilities for electronic transfer of such records is given. For a university library and information centre, the need for a multipurpose reformatting program, capable of converting record formats, is demonstrated. One such program, HEADFORM, is used to test record conversion from one CD‐ROM and four online databases to the personal microcomputer databases of three researchers and to determine approximate time savings by transferring such records electronically rather than manually. Results show that, with a few limitations, records from online and CD‐ROM databases can be converted successfully to the formats required by these three personal database systems, and that significant time savings are possible.
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