Pinyin Conversion Update

For the past several months, the Library has sought to coordinate pinyin conversion activities with OCLC and RLG through frequent conference calls. These calls have helped the three organizations to clarify roles and responsibilities for the many aspects of the conversion project. Discussions have primarily focused on the development of a marker to be added to local fields in bibliographic records to indicate which subfields within a record have been converted and which have not. The marker is intended to help utilities and vendors identify the status of records that are loaded into their databases from external sources. The parties have also discussed OCLC's exploration of using its authority control system for pinyin conversion activities.

The Library of Congress will host a meeting of representatives from research libraries with large Chinese collections, along with key staff from RLG and OCLC, on Thursday, October 7. The meeting has been initiated and organized by Harvard University. Invited participants will seek to coordinate planning for pinyin conversion activities more broadly by agreeing on the timing of major conversion-related events and responsibility for performance of certain tasks. Issues that particularly affect local catalogs and local library systems will also be addressed.

The Library of Congress has completed revision of name authority records for Chinese conventional place names, so that headings for major localities in China now correspond to the form used by the United States Board on Geographic Names (BGN). Headings for more than 260 Chinese geographic locations have been changed, along with over 5,300 related authority records. Most of the new headings appear in pinyin romanization. Headings on bibliographic records for LC's book, music, manuscript, sound recording, and visual material records have been revised to reflect these changes, as have the headings on many records in the former PreMARC file. Headings on serial records have been identified but not yet changed. It is hoped that headings for these place names on Chinese bibliographic records can be changed at the same time that the records are converted from Wade-Giles romanization to pinyin. All new cataloging should use the revised form, whether as an entry element, a qualifier, or a subject subdivision.

Except from LC Cataloging Newsline v. 7 no. 11 (September 1999).