Friday, December 03, 2004

THOUGHTS ON UNICODE AND THE MACINTOSH: Over on Deinde, Danny Zacharias has some thoughts on Unicode and the Mac, precipitated by Mark Goodacre's lament that more biblical scholars are not using the Unicode fonts and my e-mail to him (update here) asking for more information on Unicode for the Mac. Like all the discussions I've seen, Danny's sends my head spinning. Examples:
First off, many computer users who know they should start using unicode fonts do not realize that it means more than just downloading a new font, it means setting up a language bar with different keyboards to use, which is part of the operating system and not the word processor. Other computer users, knowing that this type of setup needs to take place, sit content with the classical fonts and push off the unicode conversion process for later.


What I love about Mac is that no outside software is required; the language bar manages the keyboards as well as the layouts without any other software.


Okay, you need something called a "language bar" that you have to "set up," but which good-naturedly "manages" some "keyboards" and "layouts" for you, and all of this is part of your operating system. Yikes!! Darn right I'm going to stick to the SBL fonts until someone explains to me, in simple steps suitable for an idiot, where I can find the fonts (ahem, free fonts, thank you, like the SBL fonts I use now) and how I can do all this setting up and managment delegation.

Danny is thinking of producing a Unicode tutorial for the Mac. More power to him!

UPDATE: Ed Cook e-mails:
Try this. Go to Mac Help on your Help menu. Type in "changing language" in the search cartouche when the window comes up. Then click on the topic "Changing language on your computer."

Ken Penner e-mails:
Regarding your blog entries about Unicode on the Mac, apparently the level of difficulty in setting your keyboard to type Unicode Greek depends on the version of your OS (it becomes easy with 10.2).

For a free Unicode Greek keyboard (including setup instructions), see
Or (bottom of page)

Chuck Jones e-mails:
Since you like the free SBL fonts and you're interested in compliance with such standards as Unicode, you might be interested in looking at The SBL Font Foundation:

"The Society of Biblical Literature, with assistance from Tiro Typeworks and support from members of the SBL Font Foundation, is developing a new series of high-quality fonts to foster biblical scholarship.

Fonts in the series are attractive and legible on computer screens and in print, include characters and symbols found in critical editions, display complex scripts, and transfer between operating systems and applications that support Unicode/OpenType standards. Each character in a Unicode font is assigned a unique code, and this makes it possible for scholars and publishers to exchange texts between Unicode environments without converting texts or losing data."

Current members of the Foundation are:

American Bible Society,
American Schools of Oriental Research,
Baker Book House,
Brill Academic Publishers,
German Bible Society,
Logos Research Systems,
Westminster John Knox,

Many thanks, all. This goes on my agenda for the holiday break. I don't think I'll be able to get to it before then; I have to finish The Book (which is currently at the soul-destroying proofreading and double-checking-everything stage.)

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