Encounters of the Third Type Research in typography and epigraphy Symposium organised by Bibliothèque nationale de France & Atelier national de recherche typographique 


[extrait du communiqué] This symposium will investigate the issue of designing and encoding typefaces for the specific needs of researchers. It will be a unique opportunity to bring together epigraphists, type designers and academic publishers. Western typography makes a distinction between “Latin” and “non-Latin” types: the first category involves a relatively small set of characters, and is covered by the vast majority of typefaces. The second category covers a much greater number of writing systems, which usually involve larger character sets and complex scripts. Beyond the (debatable) terminology used to differentiate these fields, each involving their own typographic challenges, there is a third category of typefaces: types designed to serve the needs of researchers. Peculiar writing systems, specific glyphs, transcription needs… In order to communicate and share their knowledge, researchers sometimes need their own typographic solutions.

With Florence Codine (BnF), Thomas Huot-Marchand (ANRT), John Hudson (Tiro Typeworks Ltd), Joel Kalvesmaki (Dumbarton Oaks), Marc Phillips, Marc Smith (École nationale des Chartes), Sarah Kremer (ANRT, ATILF), Morgane Uberti (BnF), Ludovic Trommenschlager (EPHE), Elvire Volk Léonovitch (ANRT), Andreas Stötzner (Type designer, MUFI), Alice Savoie (ANRT).

Typographers and epigraphists have long had common interests and research topics. Beyond their semantic content, the graphic specificities of the signs (letters or symbols) that make up inscriptions more often than not carry information on the text’s geographical, chronological, technical and cultural context, and are especially important to studying language, literacy and the use of writing.

The new opportunities offered by computer sciences and the digital humanities (online catalogues and publications, digital repositories...) make it essential to researchers that epigraphist develop new tools to transcribe, publish and study inscriptions. The creation of specific fonts for digital humanities requires an analysis of the structure and specificities of the glyphs, as well as a discussion on the encoding strategies, which are themselves an opportunity for collaborative research between our two fields.