May 1, 2003, North Andover, MA, USA – Aries Systems Corporation today reaffirmed its commitment to the ISO Unicode standard in its online manuscript tracking system, Editorial Manager. “I’m pleased to see that the standards continue to be immediately relevant to solving practical problems in technology and commerce. I’m glad to see that Editorial Manager is adopting such standards” said Martin S. O’Neill, Managing Editor, International Journal of Psychoanalysis.
What is Unicode?
Computers store text characters as a string of ones and zeros. Historically the length of this string has been limited to 1 byte (or 8 bits) thereby limiting the maximum number characters options to 256 (2 raised to the 8th power = 256). This is sufficient for many Western languages based on Latin characters (such as English, Spanish, French, German etc.) and is commonly called “ASCII” (American Standard Code for Information Interchange).
However,the limitations of ASCII become apparent in the context of the huge range of non-roman characters that are essential for scholarly publishing – for example Greek characters and mathematical symbols. The ISO 10646-1 Unicode standard addresses this problem by doubling the number of bits per character allowed for character encoding,thereby allowing for a possible 65,536 different symbols (2 raised to the 16th power = 65,536). This number is more than enough to encode the large number of symbols and characters required for scholarly publishing. Additional information about Unicode can be found at http://www.unicode.org.
Why is Unicode Important?
Unicode provides a standard way for computers to store the vast array of characters and symbols required in scholarly publishing. Storing pure Unicode in a manuscript database is important for the following reasons:
- Users can enter and display familiar symbols and characters.
- Characters and symbols are accurately transferred when users “cut and paste” from other Unicode-compliant applications such as word processors.
- Storing true Unicode characters ensures accurate search results. Database systems that use “fake” Unicode or “tokens” have difficulty providing reliable text searches because false positives arise from matches to the “token” text.
- When data are extracted from a manuscript system, for example to build a PDF file, the Unicode will be recognized and the appropriate characters will be generated.
- When data are exported from a manuscript system (for example XML files for online publishing or production tracking), Unicode ensures clean and accurate transmission of the author’s content.
- Current versions of Web browsers are designed to display Unicode.
True Unicode Compliance?
Many systems do not offer true Unicode compliance, but compensate with a variety of techniques such as substituting small images for Unicode characters. True Unicode compliance is essential for publishers that wish to ensure future interoperability for their journal content in XML. For additional questions about Unicode and Editorial Manager, please see http://www.edmgr.com
Aries Systems transforms the way scholarly publishers bring high-value content to the world. The company’s innovative and forward-looking workflow solutions manage the complexities of modern print and electronic publishing – from submission, to editorial management and peer review, to production tracking and publishing channel distribution. As the publishing environment evolves, Aries Systems is committed to delivering solutions that help publishers and scholars enhance the discovery and dissemination of human knowledge. Publish faster, publish smarter, with Aries Systems.