Pinyin Conversion Update

The Library of Congress and the Research Libraries Group (RLG) have begun working together to prepare for conversion of Chinese records in the RLIN database to pinyin, beginning in the spring/summer of 2000.

The Library has begun to also draft program specifications to help RLG prepare a computer program which will perform as much of the conversion as possible. The program should also be able to change headings for the most frequently used Chinese conventional place names.

Advance copies of new Chinese romanization guidelines based on the pinyin system were distributed to institutions and organizations in November. The new guidelines will generally follow standard Chinese pinyin romanization procedures, with certain exceptions. Words of non-Chinese origin will be romanized systematically in all cases. Tones will not be indicated. The Library will continue its practice of separating individual syllables, except in the cases of personal names, geographic locations, and certain proper nouns. This approach assures that converted LC records will maintain their consistency with those found on both utilities. The separation of syllables should also facilitate international exchange of Chinese bibliographic data in the future.

The Library's Pinyin Task Group has begun the task of identifying and assessing the many effects of pinyin conversion on subject headings and classification schemes. Major changes are being anticipated in the DS, G and PL schedules. Class numbers will be retained whenever possible, and the reference structure will be utilized in the classification schedule to lead the user to the proper location. Subject catalogers have begun to locate and evaluate subject headings containing terms in Wade-Giles romanization. Regarding classification, for Chinese literary authors in the PL schedule, the Library plans to end the most recent time period this year (1949-1999); beginning with 2000, cuttering will be based upon the new pinyin system of romanization.

Decisions on conversion of authority records will be made following the implementation of the Library's new Integrated Library System (ILS).

Except from LC Cataloging Newsline v. 7 no. 2 Jan. 1999.