Filling in the Gaps: Meeting the Needs of the Academic Community and Minority Populations with Unicode
Intended Audience: Software Engineers, Managers, Font Designers, Graphic Designers, Marketers, Web Administrators, Web Designers
Session Level: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
The academic community and modern minority groups can benefit greatly from Unicode if (a) the scripts and all the needed characters they use are encoded in The Unicode Standard and (b) Unicode-compliant fonts and software support are provided. Current projects are underway to digitize historic and modern language materials, but progress is impeded because over 80 scripts and characters are still missing from Unicode. Similarly, some modern minority populations are effectively locked out of writing email, participating in chat-rooms, creating web-logs, and posting Web pages, because their script is missing from Unicode. For recently encoded scripts, typographic fonts are needed.
The number of consumers amongst these groups may be relatively small (numbering under 5 million speakers or users). In a market-driven economy, industry has often overlooked these groups, yet the languages they use and work with reflect our own linguistic diversity, and their requests for a script (or characters) to be included in Unicode should be given careful attention.
This panel will include speakers from the academic world who are involved in digital projects with historic scripts and a typographer who has worked extensively on historic and modern minority scripts. The panelists will address their unmet requirements and provide suggestions on how industry and other groups can help. The goal is to promote ongoing discussion between industry, scholars, and those working with speakers of minority languages so that Unicode can more adequately fill in the gaps in Unicode.