Friday, December 21, 2007

Shibboleth: Free Ancient Script Unicode Typing Tool from Logos

Shibboleth is a very nice free gift from Logos. As it states on their web site:

Shibboleth is a tool for typing Unicode text in ancient scripts. It was designed to help people unfamiliar with a script easily enter the correct characters, and then copy text to the clipboard in Unicode or another format.

While a keyboard layout is provided for several scripts, the emphasis is on helping the user recognize and select the proper characters. To that end, user input is shown in both typed and rendered format, with multiple font options, and all of the characters for each script are selectable from a well organized palette on the right side of the application window.
I have become fairly adept at typing in Greek using an installed polytonic Greek keyboard, but I often forget where those Hebrew vowel points are on the keyboard or where other special diacritics for Greek or for transliteration are located. Shibboleth will make this job easy. Support is provided for Hebrew, Aramaic, Syriac, Arabic, Ethiopic, Greek, Coptic, Ugaritic, Armenian, South Arabian, and Transliteration. You will, of course, need to have appropriate Unicode fonts, and links are provided on the Logos page.

A few things to note:
  • Using this link to the Logos page, you need to run/install the program using Internet Explorer. (For some reason, Firefox will not work when you save the file and then try to run it.)
  • You will, of course, need to have appropriate Unicode fonts, and links are provided on the Logos page.
  • You can either type your text directly (using the keyboard displayed at bottom as a guide) or you can click and choose one letter at a time (by clicking on the keyboard or the letters in the column on the right).
  • You will usually want to export text using Unicode, but you can also use escaped or ASCII.
  • Output is optimized for HTML, so if you paste into a Word DOC, you will need to strip away some of the coding that precedes and follows your text. No big deal.
Thanks to Logos for sharing this tool!
UPDATE: 2007.12.28 - Logos has now posted about this tool.

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