News: Unicode Approves Cuneiform Encoding
Capping four years' effort, the Initiative for Cuneiform Encoding, under the auspices of the Digital Hammurabi Project, successfully completed its efforts to encode Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform when, in June 2004, both the Unicode Technical Committee (UTC) and the ISO Joint Technical Committee, Subcommittee 2, 10646 Working Group 2 (WG2) unanimously approved the proposal.

The cuneiform sign repertoire embodied in the proposal is a truly historic milestone in cuneiform studies, representing, as it does, the merger of three of the most important cuneiform sign lists in the world, all of them previously unpublished, and with some of them in development for more than 40 years. The authors of these three sign lists, Miguel Civil, Rykle Borger, and Robert England, all gave ICE permission to use their unpublished materials in generating the Unicode encoding.

We estimate cuneiform will appear in version 5 of Unicode sometime in 2005, and be available shortly thereafter in all major computer operating systems and programming languages.


Abbreviated Timeline (more complete timeline)

The Digital Hammurabi Project hosted the Unicode Technical Committee meeting at Johns Hopkins University. It was at this meeting that the first formal proposal to encode Sumero-Akkadian cuneiform in Unicode was presented.

The UTC, at their Mountain View, California meeting, made a few suggestions to improve the cuneiform proposal.

During the UTC & ISO 10646 WG2 meetings in Toronto both groups unanimously approved the placing of the cuneiform proposal on international ballot.

All ISO 10646 voting nations approved the cuneiform proposal during the first two rounds of balloting. The final approval is expected in June 2005.