How Do You Spell “??”? The expansion of Unicode and the blurred line between text and image in digital space

1. Abstract

This paper argues that while pictographs such as “??” have been a part of Unicode since its initial launch in 1991, the 2010 introduction of emoji characters represents a major shift in the way that digital text is defined and standardized, and that this shift has major infrastructural and cultural implications for how we regulate and circulate language in digital space., It does this by examining the rules of the Unicode Standard, as well as through a reading of the official definitions and meanings-in-use of several emoji and non-emoji characters, and applying the LIS framework Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR) to how those characters exist and are circulated.

S.E. Hackney (, University of Pittsburgh, United States of America

Theme: Lux by Bootswatch.