LINGUIST List 13.1130

Tue Apr 23 2002

FYI: Unicode Script Encoding Initiative

Editor for this issue: Marie Klopfenstein <marielinguistlist.org>


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  1. Deborah Anderson, Script Encoding Initiative (Unicode)

Message 1: Script Encoding Initiative (Unicode)

Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2002 11:04:07 +0000
From: Deborah Anderson <dwanderssocrates.berkeley.edu>
Subject: Script Encoding Initiative (Unicode)


Message Body: A new Script Encoding Initiative has been set up at the
Department of Linguistics of the University of California at
Berkeley. The charter of this initiative is to fund proposals for
those scripts missing in Unicode, the universal character encoding
standard.

To date, Unicode has largely focused on the major modern scripts. Some
minority and historic scripts have already been encoded, as well as
historic characters of the major modern scripts. At least 90 scripts
remain to be encoded. Minority scripts still used in parts of South
and Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East include Balinese,
Batak, Chakma, Cham, Meithei Mayek, New Tai Lu, N'Ko, Pahawh Hmong,
Pollard, Siloti Nagri, Tifinagh, and Vai. Scripts of historical
significance include Aramaic, Avestan, Brahmi, Egyptian Hieroglyphics,
Glagolitic, Javanese, Kitan, Lanna, Lepcha, Old Permic, Pahlavi,
'Phags-pa, Phoenician, South Arabian, Sumero-Akkadian Cuneiform, and
Tangut.

Because proposals for the encoding of minority and historical scripts
often entail significant research, and their user communities have
little economic or political voice, script proposals have not been
submitted to the Unicode Technical Committee (UTC) in any regular
manner. It has been estimated that at the current slow pace of
encoding, many scripts will still be unencoded in ten years.

The goal of the project is to fund the development of script proposals
that will be successfully approved by the Unicode Technical Committee
without requiring extensive revision or involvement of the committee
itself. A secondary goal for certain scripts is to produce
freely-available fonts, both for publication of the standards and for
end-users.

By providing funding for proposal authors, drawn from faculty and
graduate students as well as other experts, the Script Encoding
Initiative represents a concerted effort to tackle the remaining
scripts. The project will be assisted by a Unicode Vice President to
assure that the proposals meet requirements of the Unicode Technical
Committee.

Funding will be allocated on a per-proposal basis, depending upon the
logistical complexity of encoding the script. The development of
proposals will entail detailed script research and contact with both
user communities and standardization bodies.

The project is being led by Deborah Anderson, a Researcher in the
Department of Linguistics, in conjunction with Unicode Vice President,
Rick McGowan.

Donations are welcome. Checks (in U.S. dollars) should be made out to
"UC Regents", with "Script Encoding Initiative" written on the memo
line, and sent to:

	Script Encoding Initiative
	c/o Deborah Anderson
	University of California, Berkeley
	Department of Linguistics
	1203 Dwinelle Hall #2650
	Berkeley, CA 94720-2650
	USA

If a letter accompanies the check, it should specify that the money is
a "gift." Donations are tax-deductible in the US within the limits as
prescribed by law; 2% of donations go automatically to the campus
Development Office, as is usual for gifts to the University of
California at Berkeley.

Questions may be directed to Deborah Anderson at the above address, or
by e-mail to: dwanderssocrates.berkeley.edu

Unicode The Unicode* Consortium is a non-profit organization founded
to develop, extend and promote use of the Unicode Standard, which
specifies the representation of text in modern software products and
standards. The membership of the consortium represents a broad
spectrum of corporations and organizations in the computer and
information processing industry. The consortium is supported
financially solely through membership dues. For additional information
on Unicode or the Unicode Consortium, please visit
http://www.unicode.org. For information about encoding plans and
scripts not yet suported, please see these pages:
	http://www.unicode.org/roadmaps/
	http://www.unicode.org/unicode/standard/unsupported.html

		
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