View Full Version : Unicode WIKI — help wanted

08-05-2005, 12:24 PM
The decodeunicode site (http://www.decodeunicode.org/) presents an interesting and potentially useful WIKI project. And it looks like fun. Here’s how it describes itself:decodeunicode.org
is an independent online-platform for digital type culture, developed at the Department of Design at the University of Applied Sciences in Mainz.

The project is supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and has the objectives of creating a basis for fundamental typographic research and facilitating a textual approach to the characters of the world for all computer users.
The site needs a bit of decoding itself: From the site’s main screen, click on Deutsch or English to reach the main page. Clicking on the little colons (I guess — they are probably some sort of unicode glyph, anyway) takes you to a category and presents an array at the top of the screen. Clicking on any of those items provides the unicode ID and description.

For example, the 7th colon reveals U+0300 – U+036F Combining Diacritical Marks. Click on any of the characters above to find out what you are seeing. For example, the fourth one in the top row is the U+0303 Combining Tilde.

If you find missing entries, you can enter the information into the WIKI database in the screen below.

Now when and how it becomes useful is anyone’s guess, but WIKIs have a lot of appeal, and this should be easier to use than the tables at the official unicode site.

Poke around in the links — you can buy a poster or a set of 36 postcards showing unfamiliar unicode characters. There is a FAQ with instructions for adding to the WIKI. And more.

Howard White
09-01-2005, 06:52 AM
I am remiss in not responding to this earlier, and thank you, KT, for pointing me to this site.
The little "colons" are actually points on a slider bar in Flash. (I have to turn off Firefox adblock to see it. :) Move your cursor along the row of colons and you will see a brief description of each block pass by. When you get to a block that interests you, click on the sample icon above the bars to see the display of all glyphs in it.

Which leads to a question, not clarified in the site's FAQ. Who "owns" these glyphs? You can blow them up to quite large size and save them as individual .jpg files. These would seem ideal for transfer to ScanFont and then incorporated, using FontLab, into a font or fonts. The encoding of that font would, of course, be at the creator's discretion, but past experience with similar scanned glyphs suggests they will work well in any application that allows you to select glyphs from a palette.

I would not, of course, sell such fonts, but would using them in my own work step on any legal toes?


Michael Rowley
09-01-2005, 07:46 AM

Who "owns" these glyphs?

If they're the same ones as in Unicode 4 (the printed book), they're Adobe Minion possibly, for that's what the text of the book is in; but otherwise, I suppose the copyright is held by the Unicode Consortium, if it's a legal person.

Howard White
09-01-2005, 08:20 AM
Appending to my previous message:

-The images are .gifs, which means they need to be converted to .tiff, .png, or .pict for ScanFont;

-In addition to what I described, the site includes a Wiki feature. For some glyphs, there is a Wiki entry with often interesting information. For example, the first Universal Recycling Symbol entry includes an entry describing the contest which led to its selection. The nuclear hazard symbol describes how it was cobbled together by a bunch of physicists. And maybe you, too, didn't know that the female and male symbols also represent copper and iron, respectively;

-For the true geek, there is a Properties window with ail the hairy details about the internals of the glyph.

Off to the Unicode.org site to see what it says about copyrights. Also, I'll look at Minion to see if the glyphs are there and are similar/identical to what's on the site. Thanks to Michael for trying to keep me honest. -:)


Howard White
09-01-2005, 08:36 AM
And further appending, after a closer examination of the site:

"Some rights reserved. All texts and images on this website are protected by a Creative Commons License. You may reuse and redistribute them for any purpose other than commercial use."

HW (who is distinctly non-commercial).

Bo Aakerstrom
09-01-2005, 10:43 AM
Which leads to a question, not clarified in the site's FAQ. Who "owns" these glyphs?

If it is glyphs you can use freely you are after, try this link:


Howard White
09-01-2005, 12:39 PM
Thanks. I had seen the link before, but re-examined it. I have many of the fonts on his list but want to be surre I have no junk fonts (of which there are many around.)