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Unicode Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Preferred Citation
  • Conditions Governing Use
  • Scope and Contents

  • Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Title: Unicode collection
    Identifier/Call Number: M2864
    Physical Description: 73.25 Linear Feet (140 manuscript boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1971-2020
    Abstract: This collection primarily consists of meeting notes, reports, minutes, agendas, research material, drafts, correspondence, and other documents highlighting the development and output of the Unicode Standard, a universal character encoding schema, and related internationalization standards by the Unicode Technical Committee.
    Language of Material: English .

    Conditions Governing Access

    Series 4, Unicode Officers (Boxes 87-91), is closed until 2050. The rest of the collection is open for research, with the exception of the born-digital materials, which are closed until processed. Note that material must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    This collection was given by Ken Whistler to Stanford University, Special Collections in 2021.


    The collection was organized by the donor, Ken Whistler, and that arrangement has been largely maintained. The following series are present in the collection, with some minor overlap of materials between them: 1. Working Groups and Committees; 2. Joseph D. Becker; 3. International Unicode Conference; 4. Unicode Officers; 5. Unicode Editorial; 6. Unicode General; 7. Printed Material and Ephemera.

    Biographical / Historical

    Unicode is an international encoding standard that allows consistent encoding, representation, and handling of text expressed in many writing systems globally. It is maintained by the Unicode Consortium, which operates the current version.

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], Unicode Collection (M2864). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Conditions Governing Use

    Materials may be subject to copyright. While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns. See: http://library.stanford.edu/spc/using-collections/permission-publish

    Scope and Contents

    The Unicode collection is comprised of personal notes,reports, meeting minutes, agendas, editorial drafts, correspondence, conference proceedings, source material, publications, and ephemera. These materials document the development of the Unicode Standard and related activities of the Unicode Technical Committee from the 1980's into 2020.
    The bulk of collection is comprised of documents from the early days of Unicode (specifically 1984-1998), much of which has not been available online and which highlights the evolution of Unicode Standard, beginning with the initial 1.0 version to its current iteration.
    The activities and output of the following working groups are prominently featured in the collection:
    Unicode Technical Committee, the technical committee of the Unicode Consortium responsible for maintaining the Unicode Standard.
    X3L2 (later referred to as L2), the technical committee of the InterNational Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) which deals with U.S. work on international standards in the character encoding and internationalization subareas.
    Working Group 2 (WG2), a working group that deals with the maintenance of ISO/IEC 10646, the international multilingual character encoding standard maintained along with the Unicode Standard.
    Working Group 20 (WG20), a now-defunct working group that formerly handled internationalization issues related to programming languages, including collation of strings.
    Also featured in the collection are editorial notes and drafts for various versions of the Unicode standard, early notes and research files from Joseph D. Becker, a co-founder of Unicode, documents from the Unicode Board of Directors and officer meetings, conference proceedings from the International Unicode Conferences, as well as general correspondence, printed material, and ephemera.
    Later versions of some of these materials, as well as related documentation, can be found on Unicode's website.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Unicode Consortium
    Unicode (Computer character set)--Standards.
    Unicode, Inc.
    conference proceedings