Comp. Sci. Dept's & Unicode (Re: Reality check - non-Unicode ...)

From: Don Osborn (
Date: Sat Aug 19 2006 - 18:21:21 CDT

  • Next message: Don Osborn: "Re: Reality check - non-Unicode in Guinea-GTZ documents 2005"

    Thanks Curtis, Eliotte, and Ciarán for your responses to this question. On the localization side you're absolutely right, Ciarán, concerning LRC at University of Limerick. There are also programs in that area at Austin Community College (in Texas) and recently announced at the University of South Africa (UNISA). In addition, there is a new joint computer science / linguistics MA program in language technology at Eastern Michigan University, and the University of Illinois announced a Ph.D.-level Certificate of Advanced Study in Language and Speech Processing last December. There may be others.

    I guess I was thinking inside the box, mainly, about computer science and unicode, and the internationalization of ICT (figuring this was necessary for more effective public education). A few added references later I had broadened the scope of the question significantly. So let me try again:

    The basic question - beginning at the level of how computer science in universities treats Unicode - is to ask what a computer science undergrad today *should* know about Unicode when s/he graduates and whether s/he is getting it? On the graduate levels there is more specialization, but are there any general recommendations for that level? Reason for asking is that if the experts aren't getting it, it will be hard to expect others to do so either.

    A next step is to ask how Unicode and internationalization are treated more generally in higher education. Unicode/ISO-10646 is a big deal, though I suppose it is easy to lose sight of the fact. But the only explicit treatment of Unicode by an institution of higher learning I can point to offhand is the Decode Unicode project at the Department of Design of the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz (Fachhochschule Mainz).

    A little bit more broad consideration of internationalization and standardization of ICT very quickly gets beyond computer science alone, and soon meets up (as it were) not only with localization, but also other areas of study. I'd be surprised if there were not some college level courses mentioning the controversies over internet governance for instance. On the other hand, there are very few people in the world relatively speaking who even know what is currently being worked on for language codes in ISO-639, for example, and little of that sort of information gets out to students studying fields impacted by the process (comp sci, linguistics, localization). Internationalization, to the extent it considers issues like international standards bodies and internet governance, gets well outside the usual range of topics dealt with in comp sci and linguistics, but doesn't completely go under studies of international relations either. Aspects of it may be treated in some research and classes, but perhaps not systematically anywhere (I hope this is wrong).

    Hence my earlier question about interdisciplinary programs addressing internationalization issues. Yes internationalization has connections with existing young fields of teaching & research, namely localization and language-computer science linkages, but is it getting the degree of attention it merits, beginning with unicode in computer science?

    Don Osborn

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Ciarán Ó Duibhín" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Thursday, August 17, 2006 5:38 PM
    Subject: Re: Reality check - non-Unicode in Guinea-GTZ documents 2005

    > Don Osborn wrote:
    >> It would be great to have somewhere an interdisciplinary program and/or an
    >> endowed chair for internationalization and localization. The issues reside
    >> in the abovementioned areas as well as policy, economics, business,
    >> international development, etc. These issues are very current, with longer
    >> term implications, and they go from the ground level all the the way up to
    >> issues like IDN and internet governance for instance. All these things
    >> connect and we all know it. But there seems to be a case for an academic
    >> entity to treat the high-level issues, call attention to gaps, needs etc.,
    >> integrate elements that people work on separately, and address the need
    > for
    >> broader level "outreach" for public education. (Maybe such exists
    > already??)
    >> Not that this would be *the* answer, of course, but it is arguably an
    >> essential piece...
    > I don't know much about it but have a look at
    > Ciarán Ó Duibhín.

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