EDGAR spiffed up during holiday

By the end of the Thanksgiving holiday, the Securities and Exchange Commission's

electronic filing system will be a fully cyberspace operation, complete

with all the Web-based trimmings.

But for companies that aren't ready to file via the Internet, the SEC

intends to keep the original system in operation until April 20, about five

months later than its original shutdown date.

"The commission is taking this action at the request of the filing community,"

the SEC announced in a brief statement Nov. 2. In June, the agency said

it expected to close out the old system, which requires filings to be made

in ASCII format via a dial-up system, as early as Nov. 1.

EDGAR — for Electronic Data Gathering Analysis and Retrieval — will

be upgraded for full transition to the World Wide Web over the Thanksgiving

holiday.

"We are shutting EDGAR down for one day to allow us sufficient time

to make a major upgrade to the internal portion of the system, completing

EDGAR's transition to the Internet," the agency said in a statement.

The day after Thanksgiving historically has the fewest filings of any

day of the year, so the one-day shut down should have minimum effect on

filers or disseminators of the filings, according to officials.

For companies scheduled to file on Nov. 24, SEC officials say:

* Filings submitted and accepted after 5:30 p.m. EST on Nov. 22 will

be given a Nov. 24 filing date.

* Companies with Nov. 24 filing dates will be considered to have filed

timely statements if they are received and accepted by EDGAR on or before

5:30 p.m. EST on Monday, Nov. 27.

The SEC began moving EDGAR onto the Internet nearly 18 months ago. Initially,

companies could file documents via the Internet but not images or hyperlinks.

Earlier this year, however, those options were added, enabling companies

to file documents complete with graphics and hyperlinks to previous filings

in the EDGAR database.

Those using the World Wide Web to file also no longer have to convert

their original documents into ASCII simply to send them to the SEC. "We

wanted to eliminate that [step] by moving to a better format so they can

push a button, spit out an HTML document and send that to us," EDGAR program

manager Richard Heroux said in May.

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