From: James Kass (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Mar 09 2005 - 22:23:29 CST
We have precedent for preserving information about damaged glyphs
in computer plain text.
As Bob Richmond already pointed out, damaged glyph characters were
part of Michael Everson's N1944 proposal for Egyptian Hieroglyphic
Quoting from N1944, "Additionally, 40 Alternate Format characters
will be needed in order to map currently-encoded texts to the UCS."
According to Bob Richmond, damaged glyph characters are included in
the private use spec at:
"Manuel de Codage"
A standard system for the computer-encoding of Egyptian
transliteration and hieroglyphic texts
by Hans van den Berg
Please refer to the section on shading.
Note that this system uses ASCII characters to encode hieroglyphic text,
but this shouldn't suggest that Unicode would recommend that hieroglyphics
be encoded using either ASCII or a higher-level protocol.
"RES" was offered to replace the Manuel de Codage, but is more of
a mark-up scheme than a computer encoding:
Damaged glyphs are shown in running heiroglyphic text. Here's
some handy examples, all in PDF format, from this page:
Breasted (1906) uses dashes and brackets to denote missing or partially
obliterated material in transcription.
[ Those with good connections may wish to check out the PDF version
(10425 KB) of ANCIENT RECORDS OF EGYPT / HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS
by Prof. Breasted (The University of Chicago Press, 1906) linked on this page:
Note how Brian Colless uses ASCII brackets to denote damaged glyphs in
plain text in this letter concerning the decipherment of the Byblos
Syllabary on this page:
Lloyd Anderson made a survey of brackets, dots, and hashing used in
various studies back in 1998.
The survey request is here:
( http://oi.uchicago.edu/OI/ANE/ANE-DIGEST/1998/v1998.n142 )
I was unable to find the results of that survey on-line, though.
In David Stuart's transcription of a Mayan inscription from Pelanque at:
... an ASCII question mark is used to denote an indecipherable glyph and
brackets are used to denote a reconstructed glyph.
Plain text is considered useful!
Quoting from this page,
"Why bother with plain text? The benefits are insurance
against obsolescence, leverage, and easier testing.
Human-readable forms of data, and self-describing data,
will outlive all other forms of data and the applications
that created them. Period. As long as the data survives,
you'll be able to use it long after the original application
is defunct. "
"Nearly every tool in the computing universe, from
source code management systems to compiler
environments to editors and standalone filters, can
operate in plain text. So if you need to ensure that
all parties can communicate using a common standard,
use plain text. "
For my two cents worth, Dean A. Snyder's suggestion for handling
damaged glyphs *at the character level* has merit.
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