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typography question

For all you printers out there:
I'm a librarian in a suburban public library. We had a patron today asking
what the "dot" over the lowercase "i" is called. We looked in the
typography and calligraphy books that we have. Our resources in these areas
are limited. I did find a reference to it in the good old encyclopedia
(Enyclopedia Americana). It was referred to as a "dot". Is it just called a
dot, or is there any other fancy name for it? The explanation in the
encyclopedia for its development is that it was introduced in the middle
ages to distinuish the i from m, n, and u since all used similar strokes.
The patron seemed satisfied with this. However, the reference staff is
curious. I thought I read somewhere (?) the dot called by another name.
Thank you for your wisdom! Tanya

Gregory Fisk
and Tanya DiMaggio

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