Pinyin Conversion Planning Meeting

Representatives from six major collections in the United States met with staff from the Library of Congress, OCLC, and RLG on October 7 at the Library of Congress to discuss issues related to pinyin conversion of local catalogs and to promote a coordinated approach to the conversion project. This unofficial meeting was organized by Jeffry Horrell and Dale Flecker of Harvard University.

The discussion resulted in general agreement on a sequence in which certain milestones were to be achieved, along with dates and time frames for major activities related to the conversion. It was agreed that, insofar as possible, as many authority records as possible should be converted in advance of the display of converted bibliographic records on OCLC and RLIN. Both converted authority records and bibliographic records should be marked in some manner that will prevent re-conversion. After "Day 1," new cataloging and authority work should use pinyin for systematic romanization of Chinese. Trying to strike a balance between allowing sufficient time to prepare for conversion of authorities and wishing to move forward, the group proposed October 1, 2000, as the target for "Day 1."

An individual library could continue to use Wade-Giles records for copy cataloging after "Day 1" and until "Day 2," at which time the library would switch to pinyin. Under this plan, a library's "Day 2" would be determined by the availability of bibliographic records in pinyin on the utilities and the timing of the conversion of its own Chinese records. Following conversion, utilities will return snapshots of converted records to individual libraries to be loaded into their local systems.

Representatives discussed conversion services they needed from RLG and OCLC and recommended that the Library of Congress make several adjustments to its conversion plans. The Library, OCLC, and RLG will refer to the recommendations as they work together to firm up conversion plans and time lines. In the future, progress reports on the conversion project will be presented against the milestones that were defined at the meeting. Notes of the meeting will be posted on the pinyin home page (URL: in the near future.

Except from LC Cataloging Newsline v. 7 no. 12 (October 1999).