Decode Unicode - The Open Science Database
Johannes Bergerhausen - Fachhochschule Mainz/University of Applied Sciences

Intended Audience: Content Developers, Software Engineers, Font Designers, Graphic Designers, Technical Writers, Testers, Web Adminstrators, Web Designers

Session Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Closely following the DNA, the ASCII-Code ranks among the most successful codes on this planet. Now, Unicode is taking its place. With this encoding system, millions of typographic laypersons have access to a huge character repertoire right on their keyboard. More often than not, however, they are unaware of these treasures. Now is the right time to gather and explain the history, the various meanings and correct typographic use of each Unicode character. Who 'invented' the full stop? When did the Infinity sign come into being? What's an Ogonek?

The advent of Unicode is a technical revolution. Even more so, however, it marks a cultural one.

In an 18-month project in the department of Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz, Germany, we are collecting images, texts and information about each and every Unicode character. In April 2005, the project will be opened for anyone to submit their own material to the open science database.

In his lecture, Prof. Bergerhausen will give a short introduction to code-history from the typographer's point of view and will present the project. The project is supported by the Germany Federal Ministry of Education and Research.