Completing the Encoding of Scripts in Unicode and Its Importance for Government: A Perspective from the Script Encoding Initiative at UC Berkeley

Deborah Anderson - Department of Linguistics, UC Berkeley

Intended Audience: Managers, Software Engineers, Marketers, Site Coordinators, Font Designers, Web Administrators, Government Administrators
Session Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

While Unicode currently covers over 54 scripts and offers the potential to reach speakers from a panoply of languages, the task to encode all scripts in Unicode is still unfinished. For the government, the successful completion of encoding all the scripts means that a standardized encoding will be available from which fonts, software, etc. can be built for any language. A standardized encoding would make it easier for businesses to produce fonts and tools upon demand, without having to wait 3-5 years for the script to pass through the standards process.

Such fonts and software can:

However, there is a lack of governmental or university financial support for such a project at present, possibly because the long-range importance of the project needs to be better understood. In an effort to actively pursue the encoding of missing scripts, a project called the Script Encoding Initiative (SEI) was begun at UC Berkeley within the Department of Linguistics. This talk will describe the project, outline the current progress, and discuss plans for the future. The talk is geared to those in government or business. It ends with the recommendation that public funding is needed to support the project, or communication with others in today's world will be impeded.