Thomas Milo, Raising the Stakes in Arabic Text Handling

Posted on January 22nd, 2014 in Events

February 7, 2014, 4:30-6:30PM in Information Center Classroom, First Floor, Cecil H. Green Library East Wing (557 Escondido Mall, map)

Thomas Milo, “Raising the Stakes in Arabic Text Handling”

Join us for a fascinating talk by noted typographer Thomas Milo who will describe a project initiated by the Sultanate of Oman. The project aims to display, search and quote Qur’ān text on the web in a typographically stable and orthographically flawless manner, regardless the operating system or the type of web device. This requires rethinking computer typography. After a general description of the project, two areas will be discussed in more detail:

  • Scalable Vector Graphics technology will be evaluated as a candidate to stabilise computer typography. Browser deficiencies regarding SVG will be identified; SVG issues with Unicode will be identified.
  • Typography issues regarding Arabic orthography in general and Qur’ān in particular will be identified, particularly the amphibious letters, not handled by any software to date.
  • In addition to that a novel analysis of palaeographic Arabic script forms the basis for a new typeface to render the chapter headings.

Thomas Milo is partner in DecoType, a team that has been working on Arabic script technology since 1982, in the course of which they pioneered the concept of Dynamic Font (Smart Font, Intelligent Font). Tom has contributed to Unicode since 1988 and licensed fonts and their ACE font layout engine various companies (e.g., to Microsoft as OLE server, creating the first smart font on the Windows platform). The most comprehensive implementation of DecoType concepts to date is WinSoft’s Tasmeem, a plug-in that turns InDesign in a veritable Arabic typesetting system. Besides, he is among others representative for Oman in the Unicode Consortium and advisor to ICANN in matters Arabic. He was given the honour three times of presenting the Keynote Address at the International Unicode Conference. In 2009 Tom received on behalf of DecoType the Dr Peter Karow Award in recognition got his fundamental contribution for computer typography. He also holds a Unicode Bulldog Award – whenever he remembers where he put it.

If you would like to attend, please reply to: Sonia Lee, 650.736.9538.

Refreshments will be served. This event is free and open to the public.

[Sponsored by Stanford University Libraries]

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