The Committee on Chinese Materials of the Council on East Asian Libraries (CEAL) took a charge from the CEAL Executive Committee to review a draft of the Library of Congress (LC) proposal on changing forms of headings for Chinese place names in accordance with the LC's deliberation on changing its romanization system from Wade-Giles to pinyin. The following text is a summary of individual members' comments and reactions as well as limited e-mail discussions within the time frame given. The text attempts to present a consensual view of the Committee whenever applicable. However, different opinions are registered if they were explicitly expressed.
In general, the Committee recognizes two underline principles that the proposal should follow:
A. Comments related to Principle 1
Based upon these principles, we generally agree with the LC's proposal of using the BGN's forms for place names in China (including Hong Kong) and Taiwan, since the BGN's forms basically go alone with the native official or de facto standard. However, we would like to make following suggestions for changes and modifications.
Note: There is a different opinion on the issue that argues the elimination might be confusing since hyphenation has always been popular for Wade-Giles system when used for place names.
Note: We noticed that sampled place names in Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang Uygur Zizhiqu in the LC's proposal went along with Zhuanxiefa.
Note: There is a different opinion that such a practice will drift away from rules for geographic names of AACR IIR, which denote "the name of an appropriate smaller place before the name of the larger place for distinguishing between otherwise identical place names."
Note: In the Lc's proposal, both Chinese (e.g., sheng, xian) and English (e.g., district, village) were used for various administrative unit names.
Note 2: There is a different opinion that English designations should be used consistently for all administrative unit indicators for the convenience of non-Chinese library users.
B. Comments on Principle 2
We suggest LC to take out the number 2 principle from the proposal since using whatever romanized form found on the item being cataloged will cause inconsistency.
Note: Principle 3 could sufficiently cover the situations that Principle 2 intends to cover.
C. Comments on Principle 3
We suggest Principle 3 be modified to "if no approved BGN form is found, use pinyin or Shaoshu mizuyu diming hanyu pinyin zimu yinyi zhuanxiefa for place names in mainland China and Wade-Giles for place names in Taiwan. For place manes in Hong Kong, follow the forms given in "Hong Kong Guide: Street and Places, 4th ed., Hong Kong: Survey and Mapping Office, Lands Department, 1996."
Note: This way, it will be consistent with the practice of the BGN for place names in these three territories.
Note 2: Although Wade-Giles is not necessarily the official romanization system in Taiwan, it has been by in large the de facto system used there for romanizing place names. We would like to urge LC to further investigate the issue of standard system or reference source for romanization of place names in Taiwan.
Note 3: Since the proposed change under review will not be implemented until at least after year 2000, the implementation must reflect official changes/update by that date, if any, on the systems/standards recommended above.
D. Miscellaneous Comments and Suggestions
Note: For "Xinjiang Uygur Zizhiqu," the recommended form goes along with the Chinese standard (i.e., it does not need "zu" there.)
The Committee wish to acknowledge the contributions from Tai-loi Ma, Yu-Lan Chou (UC Berkeley), and Ju-yen Teng (University of Washington) to this text. Questions regarding this document should address to all CCM members:
Yeem-Mei Wu, Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ai-Hwa Wu, ICAHW@ASUVM.INRE.ASU.EDU
Jean Han, email@example.com
Thomas Hahn, HAHN@gw.sino.uni-heidelberg.de
Teresa Chang, firstname.lastname@example.org
Yuan Zhou, email@example.com