Sunday, July 08, 2007

Time to move on from SPIonic

A recent correspondent commented on a repeated problem with the use of the SPIonic font, the free Scholars Press font designed by James Adair that has served Biblical scholars and students well for over ten years. The problem is that many users have confused the vau/digamma with the final sigma. Published books and articles are regularly produced with the wrong letter. It's something I have battled with for a long time, often having to point this out to graduate students, or correcting it in manuscripts I am reviewing or editing. There are other serious issues with the font too, not least among which is the necessity to use different keystrokes for accenting different width of vowels, something few users realize, and which results in some horrible looking manuscripts. For a long time, the solution was simply education, to make scholars, students and publishers aware of the difficulties. But the time has now surely come to say a warm and nostalgic thanks and to bid it adieu. For those who have not yet embraced unicode, now is the time to do it. For those who have, let's continue to try to persuade those who haven't.

4 comments:

AKMA said...

John Hudson's elegant new Greek type should be available from the SBL's Font Foundation soon.

Tobias said...

Don't you really mean "confused the _stigma_ with final sigma"? This I've seen several times, while confusing the digamma (resembling a capital F in the Roman alphabet) with final sigma would be nearly impossible.

css said...

I've used TekniaGreek (http://www.tekniagreek.com) for a number of years and it has been surprisingly simple to learn and use. It might be worth a look.

Christopher Heard said...

I agree! I was recently asked to use a TrueType Hebrew font for a project ... okay, I'll do it, but ick. It's a Unicode world.