Diversifying the Web for all the World's Languages: the Script Encoding Initiative at UC Berkeley
Deborah Anderson - Project Leader, Universal Scripts Project, UC Berkeley, USA

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Unicode provides the standard for the representation and processing of text electronically. As a result of Unicode and other standards built on it, it is possible today to type email, create web pages, and produce electronic documents in the writing systems used by many hundreds of the world's languages. However, over eighty scripts are not yet included in Unicode, meaning that many populations cannot communicate in their native script electronically. To remedy the situation, a project was established at UC Berkeley, the Script Encoding Initiative. It aims to help get into Unicode those ancient and modern scripts which are still not included. The project involves close collaboration with linguists, user communities, and other groups, and has received support from UNESCO and the NEH. The results of the effort will have an important impact on education, literacy, research, and other areas of communication, and will help open the Web--and electronic communication generally - to the world at large.