The Japanese word transliterated as Gaiji literally means external characters, i.e. those not belonging to the character set of Japanese. Similarly, Gaiji Bank is a database of non-standard characters not found in Unicode, a code table of about 100,000 characters of all existing alphabets. The facility to readily transliterate all now obsolete characters in historical documents is an invaluable tool for cataloguers of many collections as well as for users, who can search records created using Gaiji Bank including words containing non-standard characters.
The Gaiji Bank methodology was developed in close co-operation with the TEI organisation and it can be used within the framework of the TEI P5 ENRICH Specification. It is suitable both for the preparation of descriptive metadata and the creation of full text editions.
Under the Enrich project, the alphabets of Scandinavian languages were processed. Gaiji Bank is extensible, being designed to enable future additions. Under the EMBARK project, it is shortly planned to add characters of Balkan Slavonic languages, further enhancing the applicability of this database.