Re: Encoded rendering instructions (was Unicode's Mandate)

From: Asmus Freytag (
Date: Tue Mar 08 2005 - 00:35:07 CST

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    At 07:33 PM 3/7/2005, Dean Snyder wrote:
    > >What *could* be appropriate for encoding as characters, from the
    > >fields of paleography and epigraphy here, would be entire symbols
    > >indicating quadrant damage -- in other words, some thematic take on
    > >sets of quadrant symbols such as U+2596..U+259F, U+25E7, U+25E8,
    > >U+25F0..U+25F3, etc, which might reflect use in text to *discuss*
    > >glyph damage and lacunae, etc. This would be quite different from
    > >trying to encode a bunch of format controls to actually make
    > >the text *render* with damage and lacunae.
    >But the real need is for sometimes very significant historic character
    >damage to travel everywhere with plain text representations of that text.

    Encoding things with characters does guarantee that the information can
    flow with plain text, however, in and of itself that fact is not
    sufficient reason to add new characters to the Unicode Standard.

    What would be a nice first step, rather than these kinds of e-mail
    brain storms, would be a serious, coordinated effort by leading paleographers
    to come to an agreement as to precisely what kind of information needs
    to be preserved, and for what scripts or paleographic sub-discipline
    it would be sufficient.

    Second, it would be nice if the same group could look at rest of the
    problem, from the representation to the realization in software and
    evaluate several approaches, describing how each could serve the needs
    of paleographers and what tradeoffs are involved.

    Mathematicians did this exercise for their notational system, and their
    solution came down to a dual-pronged approach: MathML as an XML
    application for the structure, combined with additional character
    codes, where needed, to represent the content. In fairness, it must
    be pointed out that the existence and widespread use of tools such
    as TeX and LaTeX provided them with a solid base of experience in
    marked-up plain text.


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