September 12, 1997. Innovative is rapidly solidifying its position as the library automation system best able to accommodate non-Roman character sets. Arabic, added at the request of the American University in Cairo, joins six other non-Roman character sets on the INNOPAC Millennium menu: Chinese, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Hebrew, and Cyrillic.
The ability to adapt to a variety of non-Roman characters is one of the distinguishing characteristics of INNOPAC, according to Steve Silberstein Innovative Executive Vice President. The U.S. Marc format specifies that non-Roman characters appear in parallel 880 fields but INNOPAC Millennium does that standard one better.
"The basic design of INNOPAC Millennium allows non-Roman characters to appear in any field, in any record," Silberstein said. Incorporating the new character set presented a number of challenges besides the obvious one of the right-to-left flow of text. In Arabic, the vowels are not indexed and their placement is varies; they are written above or around the consonants depending on the context.
"But even more challenging, from the programming point of view, is that the form of letters changes depending on the surrounding letters," Silberstein said. "So, the display software has to be smart enough to change the display depending on which combination of letters is used." The American University in Cairo, which recently converted to Innovative from a Dobis system, is the first institution to place its Arabic holdings into INNOPAC Millennium .