Handbook: Migrating to Unicode from Legacy Systems

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Unicode-to-legacy handbook. Original image https://openphoto.net/gallery/image/view/20650 (Public Domain)

Many in the publishing industry, especially in India, have not yet migrated to Unicode, a universal character encoding that simplifies the challenges in accessing and sharing typed textual content in any language that use complex writing systems. Some of software companies stopped maintaining legacy proprietary desktop publishing (DTP) software. Adobe, for instance, stopped adding any new features to Adobe Pagemaker, a widely used DTP software after it released Adobe InDesign. However, many in the publishing industry did not migrate to the such newer software.1 When many Indian language publishing houses eventually moved to Unicode-based publishing making seamless transfer of text from web and print publication, the Odia-language publishing industry by large showed a reluctance to migrate to Unicode. Dr. Nasim Ali, one of our directors, started conducting some field research around 2017 by interviewing and identifying the practical challenges of migrating the DTP workflow in Odia to Unicode.  “Migrating to Unicode from Legacy Systems: A Practical Guide For DTP Typesetters and Publishers” is a product of countless hours of Dr. Ali’s research, and his work for creating simple and effective solutions that could help the DTP operators who are on one end of the assembly line of pubshing. The book covers a lot of basics knowhow like Unicode and its importance, and work-arounds and recommendations to migrate the challenges that he identified during his research.

Download the handbook as PDF

Released under a Creative Commons Share-Alike (CC-BY-SA 4.0) International License. See license terms here at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0.

Representational image: https://openphoto.net/gallery/image/view/20650 (Public Domain)

About the author(s)

Subhashish P. is one of the founding members of O Foundation and founder OpenSpeaks which won him the MJ Bear Fellowship and a grant from National Geographic to digitally-document threatened languages.

A documentary filmmaker, Open Culture Advocate, and community catalyst over a decade of experience leading community building, outreach and partnership across Asia Pacific at Internet Society, Mozilla, Centre for Internet and Society, and Wikimedia Foundation.

  1. “We don’t have time and money to teach our DTO operators how to use InDesign. They are already quite fast in using [Adobe] Pagemaker and not using Unicode is not yet a problem for us”. – Publisher from Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India during an interview with Subhashish Panigrahi. 2014.

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