Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Wylie, ACIP, Unicode...

In order to get by concerning Tibetan titles and texts, you need to learn Wylie encoding, and possibly ACIP as well (which is a variation of Wylie). Why? Because there's a lot of material in forms of footnotes, literature references, names, titles, listings, quotes, that are listed in Wylie.

The reason Wylie happened was that the scholars needed a way to use a typewriter (or computer) to spell out Tibetan words and sentences.

Here's one web site that shows how Wylie is put together. You could find other places by googling around.

As for ACIP, the reason this format happened was that those who type in material for the ACIP project needed a way to do this with cheap monitors and computers, 80 char screens, so the idea was to simplify the format into all-caps and make sure that the Sanskrit Tibetan terms were defined, as well (missing in Wylie). You could learn more about it here, it's especially helpful in case you are browsing the asianclassics.org material.

You could use a tool such as the TibConv tool from Rangjung Yeshe to convert between ACIP and Wylie. Also, the UDP tool handles this.

I will use Wylie here in most cases, as it's the most common format, even if I tend to use ACIP mostly for my own projects.

Soon hopefully all this is over when Unicode Tibetan fonts could be used on most computer platforms, more about that in another blog entry.

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