Script Encoding Initiative
Department of Linguistics
University of California, Berkeley
For detailed tracking of
SEI work, please see our
Year 20 (2021–2022) is a milestone for the project, having run for two decades and successfully helped 90 scripts to get encoded. The NEH portion of the project will conclude in 2023, but work on several scripts continues through support via a Unicode Adopt-A-Character grant (to Anshuman Pandey). On the agenda for the coming year are proposals for Egyptian Hieroglyphs extension, basic work needed for a Maya Hieroglyphs proposal, and several script proposals for other scripts (Ranjana, Sidetic, and Proto-Sinaitic).
Year 19 (2020–2021) will include continued work on Mayan Hieroglyphs and Egyptian Hieroglyph additions, alongside various other historic scripts, like Ranjana, Sidetic, and Proto-Sinaitic, and modern scripts. The work is supported through an NEH grant (PR-268710-20) and from donations.
A summary of ongoing script proposals and other related work appears in the quarterly summary reports, UTC reports.
Year 18 (2019–2020) is marked by the end of one NEH grant, and the start of another NEH grant, awarded in January 2020. The new grant will enable research to continue on large script proposals (i.e., Egyptian hieroglyph extensions and Maya hieroglyphs), which cannot be finished within the usual two-year grant timeframe. For more details on the SEI-supported script proposals moving along the encoding pipeline, see the quarterly UTC reports.
Also, the eScholarship site, which provides open access to publications from authors in the University of California system, now includes links to the final proposals that have had assistance from the Script Encoding Initiative project. This will allow the materials to be more discoverable by scholars, students, and others.
Year 17 (2018–2019) is the second year of a two-year NEH grant. Work is focused on continuing research on Mayan hieroglyphs and progress on proposals to add Egyptian hieroglyph extensions to Unicode. Other work earmarked for the year includes proposals for Proto-Cuneiform and Proto-Elamite, as well as Palaeohispanic, Yezidi, and various South and Central Asian scripts. The project also supported the creation of a Unicode font and keyboard covering the many alphabets of Old Italic by David Perry, which are freely accessible here. In addition to supporting proposal work and fonts, SEI is actively organizing meetings between script specialists and Unicode experts in cases where a script proposal seems to have stalled. Such meetings have included a meeting in May 2018 on Proto-Cuneiform at UC Berkeley, a meeting with Egyptologists in June in London, and another gathering in July at UC Berkeley on Palaeohispanic. These face-to-face opportunities have helped resolved outstanding issues on proposals.
Year 16 (2017–2018) included work on Mayan hieroglyphs, Egyptian hieroglyph additions, research into African scripts, and a number of other scripts. SEI also was involved in meetings on Mongolian, which culminated in a meeting in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, in September 2017 (with support of the Luce Foundation and the Unicode Consortium).
Year 15 (2016–2017) was a year noted for significant activity on proposals, thanks to support from NEH, the Luce Foundation, the Unicode Consortium Adopt-a-Character program, and donors. Meetings on the Khitan scripts took place in Yinchuan, China, in August 2016 (PDF-1 & PDF-2)
with support from a grant from the Luce Foundation. The project leader also gave a talk at Digital Humanities 2016 in Kraków, Poland, with Carlos Pallan (Bonn) on the efforts to encode the Mayan hieroglyphs in Unicode. The meeting in Kraków was preceded by a meeting to talk about Egyptian hieroglyphs in Cambridge, England.
Year 14 (2015–2016) was marked by tremendous script proposal output in 2015 by Anshuman Pandey, thanks to the Google Research Award. Other script work for the year included proposals for extended Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Proto-Cuneiform, and a number of African scripts. The Project Director also gave a presentation at the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE) on the current status of representing Egyptian hieroglyphs in Unicode.
Year 13 (2014–2015) has seen continued activity, including a script meeting in Nepal with the user community in October, supported by a Wikimedia Foundation grant, and a Google Research Award
for 2015 for script work to be conducted by Anshuman Pandey.
In May 2015, a Henry Luce Foundation grant was received (through the Unicode Consortium) for
work to help incorporate Asian scripts in the international character encoding standards, under the direction of Deborah Anderson. The first meeting was held in October 2015 in Tokyo on the Soyombo and Zanabazar Square scripts.
Year 12 (2013–2014) has seen final approval of Anatolian Hieroglyphs, first proposed in 2006. Also approved were the historic scripts Mongolian Square and Hatran. The Project Leader applied for, and received, a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to support a meeting in Beijing in December 2013 that brought together Tangut experts and encoding experts to discuss the Tangut repertoire. A long list of scripts remain in-process as additional information on them is still being gathered. Research and requests from users have resulted in many scripts being added to the "to-be-encoded" list (see the List of Scripts page).
Year 11 (2012–2013) is the final year of the third NEH grant and the Google Research Award, but work continues. Two proposals for modern scripts, developed through the project, have been approved (Warang Citi and Pahawh Hmong), as have five historic scripts (Old Permic, Caucasian Albanian, Siddham, Multani, and Early Dynastic Cuneiform).
Year 10 (2011–2012) saw additional historic Near Eastern scripts being approved (Psalter Pahlavi and Manichaean), the African script Mende Kikakui, and various scripts from South Asia (Mahajani, Modi, Tirhuta, and Pau Cin Hau). The Project Director gave an invited presentation in Brasília, Brazil, on the Importance of Script Encoding for Multilingualism in the Digital World.
Year 9 (2010–2011) was a year marked by the approval of two SEI proposals by Anshuman Pandey on various Indic scripts (Khojki and Khudawadi), as well as approval of SEI-sponsored script proposals by Michael Everson on Bassa Vah, Nabataean, and Palmyrene. The Project Director received a second Google Research Grant to support ongoing work of the project.
Year 8 (2009–2010) was the final year of the second NEH grant, and the beginning of a third NEH grant. Proposals for the Indic script Takri, as well as Old North Arabian and Arabic mathematical alphabetic symbols were approved, and many other proposals were drafted and out for review.
Year 7 (2008–2009) included work on Javanese, Old South Arabian, Mandaic, Vedic accents (with Peter Scharf of Brown University and experts in India), and other scripts. The Project Director received a Google Research Grant to aid in the work of the project. She also gave presentations on Unicode and the project at a Digital Humanities conference in Oulu, Finland, and at the Internationalization and Unicode Conference in San Jose.
Year 6 (2007–2008) was marked by additional support from a second grant from the NEH, and work on a successful proposal for the modern Bamum script, as well as several ancient Near Eastern scripts (Inscriptional Parthian, Inscriptional Pahlavi, and Imperial Aramaic). Work continues apace on a variety of other script proposals.
Year 5 (2006–2007) saw the submission – and acceptance – of completed Middle Kingdom Egyptian hieroglyph proposal! The first NEH grant for the project concluded in 2007 with over 18 scripts being approved, ranging from modern scripts (such as Balinese, Ol Chiki, and Cham) to historic scripts (including Avestan, Lycian, Lydian, Carian, and Egyptian hieroglyphs).
Year 4 (2005–2006) saw continued work on the Middle Kingdom Egyptian hieroglyph proposal, work to encode 5,910 Tangut (Xixia) characters, and more!
Year 3 (2004–2005) included work on a large proposal covering nearly 1000 characters in the Gardiner set of Middle Kingdom Egyptian hieroglyphs.
Year 2 (2003–2004) was marked by continued support for work on script proposals (including Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform, Phoenician, Old Persian cuneiform, N'Ko, Glagolitic, Coptic, and Buginese). A number of articles appeared on the project (see the Press page). The N'Ko proposal was developed with the financial and moral support of UNESCO within the framework of Initiative B@bel.
Year 1 (2002–2003) of operation with seed funding provided by an anonymous benefactor, the Script Encoding Initiative has successfully shepherded a number of Unicode proposals through the standards process, including Kharosthi (written by Andrew Glass and Stefan Baums, University of Washington), several proposals for missing Greek characters (submitted by Maria Pantelia and the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae project at UC Irvine). Deborah Anderson has given a number of presentations on the SEI project, including the Electronic Metastructure for Endangered Languages Data conference (Ypsilanti, Michigan, August, 2002 and Lansing, Michigan, July 2003), the Internationalization and Unicode Conference (San Jose, CA., September 2002; Atlanta, September 2003) the annual Society of Biblical Literature meeting (Toronto, November 2002), and to the UC Berkeley Unicode and Text Encoding Working Group (Berkeley, CA, December 2002). These talks have been aimed at informing the linguistic and scholarly community of the endeavor and to encourage wider participation. Also, a number of grant proposals were submitted to funding agencies.
Script Encoding Initiative
c/o Deborah Anderson
University of California, Berkeley
Department of Linguistics
1203 Dwinelle Hall #2650
Berkeley, CA 94720-2650
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