It gives me headaches for some time already. I get requests from scholars/universities about to possibly implement Andron Mega
as a webfont to back typographically very ambitious online corpora editions of scientific nature, special texts with very special character demands, such as old manuscripts (e.g. Latin, Old Norse) or the legacy of philosopher L. Wittgenstein. Text corpora you just can’t depict with any of the ‘usual’ fonts running normally.
Some years ago, there has been a pilot implementation administered by scholars from the Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, under the direction of Prof. J. Fredell
. You can view the Kempe-online project here
, the transliteration (on the right side) is generated live out of Andron Mega webfont files.
Now, since other initiatives and editorial projects are knocking at my door, I face the challenge of creating some sort of business model for to offer such an implementation possibility to more interested parties and institutions. And this is where my headache starts. It implies a)
the technical task of creating and maintaining (frequent character additions to come!) the neccessary webfont files; b)
a suitable hosting model which is compatible to university project requirements; and c)
a viable business plan in terms of licencing. Unfortunately, as experienced as a designer of fonts I may be, I seriously lack experience or clues to the other topics mentioned.
I am thinking about how to get along with it and come to a sensible solution. Perhaps a collaboration might be in order, but any potential partner shall be aware of the fact that this is a niche product with rather peculiar demands, and frequent upgrade raids to be expected.
The entire Andron Mega package contains currently about 14.800 glyphs. The Regular font alone contains about 5.900 glyphs, although it may get ‘physically’ cropped a bit for pragmatic reasons, it is not a thing handled easily.
Here is some little showcase about Andron
on the web.
How much this matters at this point or not, the implementation of webfonts for high-level scientific online corpora editions of historic sources is still in its infancy, because so far there are hardly any fonts around to actually render what needs to be rendered. It is a difficult matter. But several people are working on this and the goal in the – more or less – distant future is, that we get online access to the works of Platon, Dante, Newton, Leibniz, Wittgenstein … you name them; as actual text
(not just scans). The character set requirements of such editions are a huge challenge, however, it has been the very idea of Andron right from the beginning, to facilitate the most tricky sorts of text with high-quality typographic material. But, as time goes on and the techniques advance, the babie’s father seems to be in need of some advice or help.
I think there is a great development to be expected in high-level text editing online and this will be carried on mainly by scientific institutions and university projects.
– Any informed thoughts upon this are highly welcome and appreciated.