4 Jun 2011 yosch   » (Master)

ScriptSource - a collaborative service and community for the world's writing systems - is now publicly released

After years of development and an extended cycle of review by a selection of community experts, ScriptSource is now released: the version codenamed Gutenberg is now available at ScriptSource.org.

The About page says:
"ScriptSource is a dynamic, collaborative reference to the writing systems of the world, with detailed information on scripts, characters, languages - and the remaining needs for supporting them in the computing realm. It currently contains only a skeleton of information, and so depends on your participation in order to grow and assist others."

A major goal of ScriptSource is to enable the development of software that supports minority writing systems, including fonts, keyboards, sorting routines and typographic rendering systems. Every writing system should have at least one full-featured, unencumbered reference implementation, which can then more easily lead to multiple implementations including commercially-focused ones.

This service is a major trailblazing effort to organise and link together all the foundational linguistic data and corresponding software from various experienced organisations and to curate it as a collaborative dynamic open resource. See the details about the practical aspects in the FAQ.

Having personally been involved in various meetings and discussions over the years (with several mentions of the soon-to-be-released work at various FLOSS conferences) and having significantly helped Victor Gaultney (Project Leader, Designer and ScriptSource General Editor) to research, define and write up the various ScriptSource policies, I'm very happy to see all this work now published publicly. I'm sure this web service and its growing community will be a unique resource for many experts doing writings systems implementation around the world which will in turn practically improve the lives of millions of people through language-based development efforts.

Obviously, I'm also very happy about the clear commitment of the ScriptSource service to openness and appropriate copyright and licensing: we have a pragmatic and visionary set of policies based on the values of open access with reasonable and balanced involvement of both for-profit and not-for-profit entities in a collaborative community. And we're promoting it to all contributors in a flexible way. The many challenges of writing systems implementation can be more easily tackled in a collaborative community building upon each other's work without the obstacles of exclusivity deals.

So please go ahead: explore, contribute your expertise and send your ideas and suggestions. Your feedback big or small is most welcome. The hosting system, the workflows and usage scenarios forming the overall service will improve incrementally according to the needs of the community.

You may have already heard about or made use of the Ethnologue, like, for example, the Debian-Installer and OLPC localisation teams already have done for a while, but I think the unique technical features and the open and collaborative approach of ScriptSource will accelerate and simplify to a unprecedented level the work of the linguistic research community and of the makers of multilingual services and products.

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