Thanks Stephan and Jim. I've worked out my problem, but your suggestions might have been another approach. And John, you're right I meant ISO-8859-1.
I was using the multipartrequest servlet and did not notice it now has a new constructor that includes an encoding parameter. However, strangely enough when reading the file upon receipt, I still had to set the encoding on an InputStreamReader to UTF16, rather than using a FileReader since it still processed the file as cp1252 (i.e., ISO-8859-1). This works fine with my string functions. What I don't understand is, if ISO-8859-1 is 8 bits then why would setting the encoding to UTF8 on the InputStreamReader, which I did initially, return a malformedinputexception. I'm using jdk 1.3 and I couldn't even find a reference to that class.
John, I think we share the same misconception about ISO-8859-1. It may be only 8 bits, but it still requires 2 bytes (perhaps the high-order bit is reserved). At least this is what happens in my container.
It also appears that Sun has introduced a new package java.?.nio in 1.4 that would facilitate using the approach suggested by Stephan and Jim.
[ July 14, 2002: Message edited by: Elizabeth Reynolds ]