From: Don Osborn (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon May 12 2003 - 17:26:02 EDT
Does anyone have any leads to sources of information on how the ISO 6438
"African coded character set for bibliographic information interchange" was
developed? A 1979 DIN document (without explanatory text), "Coded Character
Set for African Languages" (http://www.itscj.ipsj.or.jp/ISO-IR/039.pdf),*
which evidently is a forerunner to ISO 6438 (a 1998 version of which is at
http://anubis.dkuug.dk/jtc1/sc2/open/02n3129.pdf)* differs in several ways
from usage illustrated in the "African Reference Alphabet"
(http://www.bisharat.net/Documents/Niamey78annex.htm) published after the
1978 Niamey "meeting of experts on the transcription & harmonization of
African languages," which raises the question.
Understanding that both were attempts in the late 1970s to summarize
character needs that were and to some degree still are evolving, and that
each had different strengths, I am still curious to know more about how the
DIN document was researched. Partly I am wondering if this is an early
example where linguists (primary participants in the UNESCO-sponsored
conferences like the one in Niamey) and computer experts (involved in the
setting of the ISO standards) in or working for Africa weren't communicating
much. Mainly though, I'm interested to know more about who used what
sources to put together what became the ISO 6438 standard for African
characters, that was in turn eventually incorporated into ISO 10646 /
Unicode. It may be worthwhile to post this information (if it is not
already) as part of broader information sharing re African language
orthographies and Unicode.
Thanks in advance for any info...
* Thanks to Eric Rasmussen for these references
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