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**To**:*Hans Aberg <haberg@matematik.su.se>***Subject**:**Re: Math Arrows and Harpoons****From**:*Barbara Beeton <bnb@ams.org>***Date**: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 10:34:18 -0500 (EST)**Cc**:*math-font-discuss@cogs.susx.ac.uk, taco.hoekwater@wkap.nl*- Content-Length: 2725

thanks to hans aberg for his comments. There appears to be a problem with physicists and others being quick at issuing standards, without first checking what mathematicians do: The mathematics often requires more sophisticated tools than the applied sciences do. couldn't be said better! as far as i am able to determine, i may be the first person representing *mathematics* in this arena, and i feel rather weak in this position as i don't have the broad math background that would be ideal in this situation. i only have the facilities and resources that are allowed to me by ams and various contacts elsewhere, mainly in the tex world, and at ams, only recently has this project received the high profile that it really deserves. As far as I am is concerned, if I can get the LaTeX \leadsto type arrows, then I am satisfied. i will try to accomplish that goal. >if a composite symbol is to be taken with a single meaning, then for >unicode it requires a single code. The problem is that with the math symbols, there is ususally no single meaning; it will vary from context to context. The idea of Unicode does not work at all when trying to classify symbols for math use. true, but unless math is to continue to suffer the inability to be promulgated via ordinary web browsers, an acceptable unicode presence is necessary. i hope the stix submission will manage to improve the present condition to a level that is at least marginally acceptable. ... ISO and Unicode will not be able to produce standards which are suitable for mathematics in general, only much fitting a few more specialized applied math areas. ISO and Unicode hold onto the wrong kind of dogma simply: It is a mess: If the idea is "a character = a meaning", then the symbols should be named like that, so that the original meaning can reconstructed. The fact that they fail in the case of mathematics is because that the dogma they work with is wrong from the outset. if someone broadly trained in mathematics would join in the unicode effort and devote the time and energy necessary to change their point of view, i believe that this would be successful, though it would take a while. the unicode people are not stupid -- many of them are very smart, in fact, but their experience is usually/often compartmentalized. however, i suspect that most mathematicians wouldn't find this kind of effort personally "rewarding" (and it can be expensive too), so it's not likely to happen without even more institutional support than has been invested in the current stix project. i'm not good at marketing, so someone else will have to do that part. -- bb

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