PUL computers updated to support more languages

Princeton University Library (PUL) updated the language bar on all of its public computers to support Chinese (Simplified – including an option to set this to Traditional), Japanese, Korean, Russian, Arabic (including a Persian keyboard option), Hindi, Hebrew, and most recently, Greek.

The project, led by Director of East Asian Library Martin Heijdra, Technical Support Specialist Thomas Ventimiglia, and Infrastructure Operations Analyst and Manager John Kazmierski, was intended to empower users to be able to use the Library’s language-specific databases from any public computer. 

 Users can select a multitude of input languages.

The updated language bar from PUL's computers.

“Princeton University Library (PUL) collects in a wide range of languages and scripts,” explained Heijdra. “In order to provide all PUL users with the tools to make full use of the physical multilingual collections of the Library and our language-specific databases from any public computer, the Library strives to provide users with the necessary tools for conveniently accessing and using these resources.”

In the 1990s, Heijdra and East Asian Library worked with Marianne Crusius, at the (then) Princeton Language Resource Center, to provide scripts and languages on computers and printers where necessary; at that moment, before Unicode, not an easy task. In 2004 this resulted in a workshop at Princeton for the Northeastern Language Learning Technology. As the implementation of Unicode spread, and more computer specialists became familiar with that, detailed support was no longer necessary, and more Library computers were updated to support Cyrillic, Persian, Hebrew, and Yiddish.

“Behind the scenes, however, automatic large-scale provision of language bars throughout an organization, in contrast to individual use on individual machines, became more obscure and complicated,” said Heijdra. “And with the recent upgrade to Windows 10, much research was needed to ensure the language bars for Non-Roman script input would be available regardless of the identity of the individual user.”

Thus, Ventimiglia and Kazmierski embarked on a three-month-long mission to update all of the Library’s computers. A number of subject specialists supported the process through testing, including Heijdra, Ellen Ambrosone, David Hollander, Thomas Keenan, Lidia Santarelli, David Jenkins, and Deborah Schlein.

In addition to increasing the number of supported languages, the update also includes additional keyboard layouts, as well as support for Non-Roman scripts and handwriting input.

To change languages, access the tab that features an abbreviation for one of the supported languages (Russian in this example). Language choices may also appear in the Windows taskbar, denoted by either symbols or three-letter abbreviations.

Published on February 7, 2022

Written by Brandon Johnson, Communications Specialist

Media Contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications