TapDIY characters or Extending Unicode

There are a couple of problems I have with Unicode. First of all it can be very hard to find the character you want if it is out of the normal context. I am transcribing C17th documents and there are a few unusual characters that you need. “y” umlaut “ÿ” is one and a long “f” is another. The best match I have found scanning down all the alphabet groups is ƒ, a florin symbol.

The second problem that even though there are thousands of characters (glyphs) sometimes the one you want is not there. I need an “m” with a tilde over and “p” with a line through and, as far as I can tell, these don’t exist. There is, however, a range of what are called non-spacing characters which allow you to modify the preceding character, much as we used to use backspace in the old Teletype days. So “m” tilde can be created with “m” followed by ̃ to give “m̃” and “p” line-through can be created with “p” followed by ̱ (a low macron) to give “p̱”. Neither is perfect but it is the best that I seem to be able to do.

An example of what can be done can be seen on the first page of Sufferings of the Quakers 1655–86. The remaining pages will be finished off soon.

(late note: Many apologies folks, but this only seems to work in Firefox, IE6 users get a little box after each character. Perhaps IE7 will be better 🙂

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