International script codes

Ever wondered what the letters ‘Deva’ on the catalogue record of a Hindi book mean? It is the code for the name of Devanagari script. And do you know who created this code? That’s ISO (International Organization for Standardization).

ISO has prepared a standard, namely ISO 15924, for creating codes for representing script-names. These script-codes are used in terminology, lexicography, bibliography and Linguistics.

The registration authority designated by ISO receives and reviews applications for addition of new script codes. When it comes to the conclusion that the particular script fulfils the required criteria, it is first encoded in UCS i.e. Universal Character Set (and also in Unicode) and is then given a new code.

To this date, codes for following Indian scripts have been created-

Bengali, Brahmi, Devanagari, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Indus, Kharosthi, Kannada, Kaithi, Lepcha, Limbu, Malayalam, Meitei Mayek, Ol Chiki, Oriya, Saurashtra, Sylheti Nagari, Tamil and Telugu.

It means that the codes for these scripts are used internationally AND they are encoded in Unicode, enabling thousands of their users to type these scripts and to share their thoughts with their friends in their respective mother tongues.

If you know of an Indian script which is not included in this list, and which is unique; and if you think it should enjoy all the privileges of ISO script-code listed above, then please visit the website of the Registration Authority of ISO 15924 and submit the request form indicated there. All they want is the name of the script, your name and your email id.

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