NcodeX Project Publications, conference papers and research notes

last updated: Mar/17/2021


PUB Number PUB authors PUB year PUB name PUB files/formats
PUB-01 Anderson, Deborah (Debbie) 2021 "Making Maya Hieroglyphs Accessible Online via Script Encoding Initiative Project"

PUB-02 Pallan Gayol, Carlos, Andrew Glass and Céline Tamignaux 2021 "Integrating Mayan Textual Repositories with Phase-Two Font Development"

PUB-03 Vail, Gabrielle and Christine Hernández 2021 "Enhancing the Classic Maya Text Repository using Rubbings from Tulane's Latin American Library"

PUB-04 Maxwell, Holly and Stephen White 2021 "Comparing Linguistic Patterns within Maya Hieroglyphic Texts Across Time, Space, and Media"





Deborah (Debbie) Anderson
( UC Berkeley, Dept. of Linguistics )
"Making Maya Hieroglyphs Accessible Online via Script Encoding Initiative Project"
Poster session presentation at the 68th Annual RMCLAS Conference, March 18, 2021



Typing, searching, and archiving text can be a challenge for those working with historic materials in Latin American Studies - both for text in the Latin (Roman) script as well as text in other scripts, such as Maya hieroglyphs.
  One problem is that text may appear one way on a computer, but when sent to another device the characters can appear as a question mark, nonsense characters, or as boxes
  SEI works with users to help get scripts and characters into Unicode, shepherding proposals through the multi-year approval process. Another goal of the project is to ensure proposals have been reviewed by experts.
  To date, SEI has assisted in getting over 70 scripts (or blocks of characters) into Unicode, including Egyptian hieroglyphs (Gardiner set), Anatolian hieroglyphs, and Linear A and B.



Pallán Gayol, Carlos1, Andrew Glass2 and Céline Tamignaux1
1(University of Bonn); 2(Microsoft), 
"Integrating Mayan Textual Repositories with Phase-Two Font Development"
Poster session presentation at the 68th Annual RMCLAS Conference, March 18, 2021



Creating a Mayan digital font compliant with Unicode standards requires substantial research in order to generate robust datasets able to map glyph characters and their variants within specific textual corpora. In parallel, the myriad possible sign-arrangments and configurations (quadrats) attested in these corpora had to be mapped as well to accurately render Mayan font characters in context.
  One core aspect of our project entails the adaptation for Mayan hieroglyphic writing of an advanced font prototype formerly developed for Egyptian hieroglyphs, whereas Phase-One involved developing of a working prototype able to render Mayan characters and arrange them in basic standard quadrat configurations.
  Phase-Two incorporates a number of enhancements in the font-internal scripts handling the transformations. In parallel, the virtual keyboard interface has been adapted to allow users to type advanced ligatures (e.g. sign superimposition and conflation) and benefits from a refined taxonomy in our glyphary and concordance tools.
  Integrating the Phase-2 font into a Text Repository would allow to create digital editions able to bridge the gap between alphabetic annotations and hieroglyphic characters, while providing users a greater degree of interactivity in browsing these editions at ncodex.org.



Vail, Gabrielle1 and Christine Hernández2
1(UNC Chapel Hill)  2(Tulane University)
"Enhancing the Classic Maya Text Repository using Rubbings from Tulane's Latin American Library"
Poster session presentation at the 68th Annual RMCLAS Conference, March 18, 2021



Rubbings, done at a 1:1 scale, are a valuable resource for the type of research needed to transcribe Maya hieroglyphic texts because they can provide details not seen on photographs or captured in line drawings. Greene Robertson’s Pre-Columbian Art Research Institute published low-resolution images of the rubbings in a CD-ROM set in the 1990s, but large-scale, high-resolution images essential for epigraphic research do not currently exist.
  The Latin American Library is undertaking a digitization project to create such images, using reprographic equipment to create high-resolution digital segments of each rubbing and software to stitch the segments together to create a single high-resolution digital file. The segments and full images of the monuments will be made publicly available in Tulane University’s Digital Library (TUDL) as the Merle Greene Robertson Maya Rubbings digital collection. Additionally, we will publish a selection of these images with annotations of the hieroglyphic texts in digital form using the Mayan-READ interface.
  This poster outlines the steps undertaken to digitize the rubbings, create metadata, and explore their use for transcribing and interpreting hieroglyphic texts recorded on Classic period Maya monuments.



Maxwell, Holly1 and Stephen White2
1(University at Albany SUNY); 2(Università Ca' Foscari, Venice);
"Comparing Linguistic Patterns within Maya Hieroglyphic Texts Across Time, Space, and Media"
Poster session presentation at the 68th Annual RMCLAS Conference, March 18, 2021



Pre-Contact Maya texts exist in various media: carved into architecture, monuments, and everyday objects, as well as painted on walls, pottery, and bark paper. Texts consist of syllabic and logographic hieroglyphs, grouped into blocks for visual presentation. Blocks are typically read vertically, two columns at a time, from the top left to the bottom right of the text. Much variation exists in the way glyphs are used to construct these blocks, with regards to number of glyphs per block, placement, orientation, and reading order. This seems to be based on multiple factors, including glyph size, overall available text space, and amount of linguistic information contained in the block
  The largest quadrat class utilized in the Classic and Postclassic periods is the class containing three glyphs per block, as it was used over 50% of the time. The biggest difference between time periods is seen in the second most common class, which was another third of the remaining blocks. In the Classic period, the next most common block contained four glyphs, while in the Postclassic the next most common contained two glyphs. Overall this suggests a shift toward less slightly less complex block structures over time.



The NcodeX Project is a collaboration between the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Bonn, Germany, the Script Encoding Initiative (SEI), the Unicode Consortium, the Latin American Library at Tulane University, the Florida Institute for Hieroglyphic Research, and other partner institutions.
This project was made possible by a Digital Humanities Advancement Grant (HAA-268887-20) from the National Endowment for the Humanities; two Adopt-a-Character grants from the Unicode Consortium (AAC-Mayan-2019 and -21), and a Dan C. Hazen Fellowship from SALALM (Seminar for the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials).


SEI work on Maya hieroglyphs has received support from NEH grant PR‐253360‐17 and PR-268710-20, as well as a Google Research grant. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Unicode Consortium, or SALALM.



Special thanks to Matthews Rechs and Christopher Chapman
at Adobe Inc. for supporting our Project with complimentary
Creative Cloud licenses that enhance several aspects of our worklows