Conference article

Transcription of Historical Ciphers and Keys

Beáta Megyesi
Dept. of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University, Sweden

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Published in: Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Historical Cryptology HistoCrypt 2020

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 171:14, p. 106-115

NEALT Proceedings Series 44:14, p. 106-115

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Published: 2020-05-19

ISBN: 978-91-7929-827-2

ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


Historical ciphertexts and keys contain a wide range of symbols from digits and letters from known alphabets to various types of graphic signs. To be able to study ciphertexts and keys empirically in large(r) scale, consistent representation of the symbol systems used in ciphers is inevitable. In this paper, we present guidelines for transcription of ciphertexts, keys and cipher-related cleartext documents. We hope that the guidelines contribute not only to the systematic and consistent text representation across ciphertexts and keys, but also help in more accurate and reliable transcriptions.


transcription; ciphertexts; keys; historical cryptology


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