Preservation and Access: Research and Development

Period of Performance

3/1/2020 - 11/30/2023

Funding Totals (outright + matching)

$306,370.00 (approved)
$302,910.00 (awarded)

Universal Scripts Project

FAIN: PR-268710-20

University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA 94704-5940)
Deborah Winthrop Anderson (Project Director: May 2019 to July 2024)

The preparation of eight scripts—six historical and two modern—for inclusion in the international Unicode standard, to aid research using materials in historical scripts and to promote communication in minority language communities.

Although computer and mobile users in many parts of the world can now communicate in hundreds of languages by using their own native writing system, there are still linguistic minority groups, and users of historical writing systems, who cannot. This is because the letters and symbols of these scripts are not yet part of the international character encoding standard, known as Unicode. More than one hundred and thirty eligible scripts are not yet included in Unicode, which directly affects humanities research, the creation of the global digital repository of humankind's literary and cultural heritage and, for users of modern scripts, basic communication. This project will fund proposals for two modern and six historical scripts (or major script additions) for inclusion in the standard, and pave the way for electronic communication in (and about) scripts by scholars and other user communities.

Associated Products

"Making Maya Hieroglyphs Accessible Online via Script Encoding Initiative Project" (poster) (Web Resource)
Title: "Making Maya Hieroglyphs Accessible Online via Script Encoding Initiative Project" (poster)
Author: Deborah W. Anderson
Abstract: Typing, searching, and archiving text can be a challenge for those working with historic materials in Latin American Studies - both for text in the Latin (Roman) script as well as text in other scripts, such as Maya hieroglyphs. One problem is that text may appear one way on a computer, but when sent to another device the characters can appear as a question mark, nonsense characters, or as boxes. SEI works with users to help get scripts and characters into Unicode, shepherding proposals through the multi-year approval process. Another goal of the project is to ensure proposals have been reviewed by experts. To date, SEI has assisted in getting over 70 scripts (or blocks of characters) into Unicode, including Egyptian hieroglyphs (Gardiner set), Anatolian hieroglyphs, and Linear A and B.
Year: 2021
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Gather app with poster from Rocky Mountain Council for Latin American Studies meeting, March 18, 2021
Secondary URL:
Secondary URL Description: Publications on NcodeX site