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A method of using error-correcting codes to obtain data compression, called syndrome-source-coding, is described in which the source sequence is treated as an error pattern whose syndrome forms the compressed data. It is shown that syndrome-source-coding can achieve arbitrarily small distortion with the number of compressed digits per source digit arbitrarily close to the entropy of a binary memoryless source. A "universal" generalization of syndrome-source-coding is formulated which provides robustly effective distortionless coding of source ensembles. Two examples are given comparing the performance of noiseless universal syndrome-source-coding to 1) run-length coding and 2) Lynch-Davisson-Schalkwijk-Cover universal coding for an ensemble of binary memoryless sources.