A. Current status
The Library of Congress (LC) and the Research Libraries Group (RLG) have been working together on the Pinyin conversion project since 1997 when LC announced its decision to switch from the Wade-Giles romanization system to the Pinyin system.
With the support of a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, RLG has developed the capability of converting all Chinese-language records in the RLIN bibliographic files from Wade-Giles to Pinyin (all parallel fields in the variable fields except the 880 field will be converted). This will include both Chinese-language records that have CJK scripts and those that are romanized only. RLG will do the conversion at no cost to RLG users and member libraries can receive copies of their converted Chinese-language records for loading into their local systems by ordering snapshots at the standard RLG rate of $0.135 per record.
More detailed information concerning RLG's Pinyin conversion project can be found at: http://www.rlg.org/r-focus/i35.pinyin.html
B. Conversion timeline
Although Day 1 can not yet be specified at this point, LC has targeted the completion of the conversion of its bibliographic records on RLIN for spring/summer of the year 2000.
C. Implementation timeline
The timeline quoted below was based on the handout, "LC Pinyin Task Group Pinyin conversion timeline", distributed at the CEAL conference this March. Please note that all targeted dates in parentheses are subject to change.
D. Who and What will be affected
All on-line Chinese records as well as other on-line records with related romanized Chinese authority and subject headings will be affected by this conversion. It is difficult at this point to give an estimate of the total number of records to be affected. Workflows of both technical services including acquisitions, serials and monograph cataloging, and public services will be heavily impacted by the conversion.
E. Awareness of the library administration
According to a questionnaire on the Pinyin conversion distributed by the CEAL Pinyin Liaison Task Force in March this year and reported by Amy Tsiang in the annual meeting of CEAL's Technical Services Committee, over 40% of the North American library administrations were not aware of or were not informed of the Pinyin conversion as of that date. The remaining library administrations, though aware of the impending conversion, have not taken any action toward the issue. Almost all libraries, however, plan to start converting the existing files and to use the Pinyin romanization system in their libraries after LC's lead in 2000. It is to be noted that during the 1999 Midwinter ALA, the topic of this conversion was discussed at the meeting of ALCTS Heads of Technical Services in Large Libraries. Suggestions were made to lobby OCLC, LC and RLG for commitment and cooperative action. The group will continue discussing this topic at the 1999 June ALA conference in New Orleans.
F. OCLC's awareness and plan toward Pinyin conversion
OCLC at present is monitoring LC's and RLG's conversion plan and is working with its development staff to evaluate conversion requirements and schedules. More definitive information concerning its own plan will be forthcoming. OCLC may also opt to redistribute all Chinese and related records from RLG after RLG's conversion of those records. OCLC urges member libraries to plan ahead for the necessary budget for the conversion.
LC is planning to have Pinyin related status reports mounted on a Pinyin conversion site on the Cataloging Directorate home page in the near future.
1. A major part of the information above is based on handouts from LC, distributed at the 1999 CEAL Technical Processing Committee annual meeting:
2. Detailed information on RLG's Pinyin conversion project can be found at: http://www.rlg.org/r-focus/i35.pinyin.html
3. Minutes of the ALCTS Heads of Technical Services in Large Libraries can be found at: http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~ulcjh/bh199.html#ITEM5B
Checklist for THINGS TO DO
Based on the facts gathered in the above summary, the Task Force would like to make the following suggestions:
1. Please make sure you have received the romanization guidelines distributed by LC in December 1998.
2. Please inform your cataloging and authority control staff of the changes that are taking place right now in authority records for Chinese geographic headings. Local cataloging policy and/or guidelines may need to be established during the interim period. [see http://lcweb.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/china.html, http://www.staff.uiuc.edu/~fyks/placename, and http://sun3.lib.uci.edu/~oclccjk (The site developed by Simpson/Doll is especially helpful because it provides links and Chinese scripts.)]
3. Please inform the following library units of this conversion:
4.Please be prepared for implementation operations such as reloading of the bibliographic file, conducting library instructions, interim split-filing, relabelling and hiring additional help.
5. Please have a tentative budget in mind for request or recommendation.
6. Please communicate with colleagues in institutions using the same local system to explore possible cooperative efforts in facilitating this conversion.
RLG Forum on the Pinyin conversion at ALA scheduled on Sunday, June 27, 9:30 am-12:30 pm, at the Embassy Suites (Lafitte 1) in New Orleans -- The meeting will be focused on all issues related to the impact of these changes on libraries' local systems and catalogs. The first part of the meeting will be on identifying issues and the second part possible strategies and approaches to address these issues.
OCLC CJK Users Group, Task Force on Pinyin Conversion Project:
Sarah Elman (UCLA)
Wen-ling Liu (Indiana Univ.)
Phyllis Wang (UC, Davis)
Hsi-chu Bolick, Chair (Univ. of North Carolina Chapel Hill)