Re: Unicode end-users

Date: Tue Aug 12 1997 - 21:24:10 EDT

At 2:35 AM 8/9/97, Graham Rhind wrote:

>There was some discussion about whether end-users need to be aware of
>Unicode and how to use it.
>With database systems this is not the case (at least not under Windows. I
>am ignorant about Unix I'm afraid ...). I would argue that in these cases,
>users need to be as aware of Unicode as they now need to be of ASCII codes
>to allow the entry of diacritics.
>It seems to me that Unicode implementation is being regarded as something
>very academic and really not of practical interest to the users. I would
>dispute this. The users have the practical need to overcome the problems
>with which our multi-lingual world presents us. From everything that I have
>read, I have the impression that I would have to wait ten more years before
>a simple task like building a low-cost address database for multiple
>language areas can be achieved cheaply and easily by an end-user without
>losing or damaging data.
>Again, I'd love to be corrected about this ...
>Graham Rhind
>Author "Building and Maintaining a European Direct Marketing Database"


I signed on to this discussion group some time ago and have been a silent
observer up to now. While I do not understand much of what is discussed on
this forum, it nevertheless interests and helps me because I am trying to
construct a database using Unicode. I have therefore gained an appreciation
at the level of a layman of the complexities of the topic. And I hope to
absorb some things at least to the point of being somewhat conversant in
the terminology.

My implementation idea consists of creating a Web-based database of
pre-copyright theological journals, images, and music (also in image
format) which can be searched by end-users on a subscription basis. The
journals employ not only English but often German, Hebrew, classical Greek,
and other languages often within the same sentence. I have found that
Unicode would be the best solution. However, I am having trouble coming up
with a commercial search engine which will index and search the Unicode.

Duke University offers a Unicode text editor called WinCalis at the
following address: with which I have had some
success in constructing the database. There is a proprietary Unicode search
engine with Logos Research Systems
( which would be an elegant
solution to my needs but so far I have been unable to gain permission for
its use in my application. Gamma also is a possibility and I have talked to
at least one other company which plans a Unicode release of its commercial
search engine.

So from my perspective as a library director interested in digital
compression and retrieval of existing multilingual information, there is a
market for Unicode applications which offer end-users and database
providers greater flexibility and ease of use than the current difficulty
of switching back and forth with ASCII. Granted, my project is somewhat
academic in nature, but I do plan to make a profit (I hope). Also in a
general sense society seems once again on the road to the tower which babel
dispelled. So I think the work being done on Unicode is vital and I just
wanted to say that I appreciate your work.

If anyone has any ideas for me in this regard, I would appreciate hearing
from you.

Peter Press, Director
Buckham Memorial Library
Faribault, MN

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