Re: External Link (Was: Spiral symbol)

From: Asmus Freytag <>
Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2013 17:36:57 -0800


in my view, the key aspect of the notice cited by Debbie, is the
rejection of an "external link" semantic, which would act as a kind of
generic code and could be rendered in many different ways.

Instead, the notice leaves open a request to standardize a particular
shape, which then could be used as external link symbol by anyone
wishing to use that particular shape for that purpose.

I happen to believe that the UTC got that one right, but I do see room
for encoding a particular shape, if there's a user community behind it.
whether based on passive evidence or preferably, in my view, active

Passive evidence is usually the preferred method for support, but in
this case you may well run into a chicken and egg problem, unless you
can find, say, a significant set of PDF documents where actual glyphs
were used.

Active community support might be tricky because, unlike currency
symbols or mathematical notation, it's not clear what constitutes a
representative user community. However, if a community could be found to
whom the preservation of this symbol matters when documents are
converted to plain text, then that should help the case.

The fact that this keeps bubbling up, is, to me, sign that the notion
that this "ought to be a character" is widespread - that certainly
satisfies one of the necessary conditions, but as the UTC notice shows
it's not a sufficient condition.


On 1/31/2013 3:53 PM, Deborah W. Anderson wrote:
> Mark,
> The External Link symbol has been proposed*, you are correct, but it was
> rejected by the UTC. See the Notice of Non-Approval, dated 06 June 2012:
> Debbie Anderson
> *L2/06-268, L2/12-143, L2/12-169
> -----Original Message-----
> From: [] On
> Behalf Of Mark E. Shoulson
> Sent: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 5:27 PM
> To:
> Subject: External Link (Was: Spiral symbol)
> I found myself the other day looking once again for the character
> representation of the "external link" sign so prevalent on Wikipedia and
> Mathworld and other sites. There has got to be enough evidence for
> recording something like this. And I've seen a proposal for it too!
> and the proposal itself at
> and proposed by
> our own Karl Pentzlin back in 2006. What has happened with it since?
> Still in review? I don't see it on the Pipeline page.
> Can we revive this proposal, if indeed it needs reviving? I think this
> character needs encoding.
> ~mark
Received on Thu Jan 31 2013 - 19:39:17 CST

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