Magazine article Information Today

Library of Congress Intends to Convert to Pinyin System for Romanization of Chinese

Magazine article Information Today

Library of Congress Intends to Convert to Pinyin System for Romanization of Chinese

Article excerpt

The Library of Congress has announced that it will convert to the pinyin system for the romanization of Chinese and will soon draw up plans on how to carry out the conversion during the next 2 to 3 years.

Pinyin is a system for writing the Chinese language in the Latin alphabet. It is used throughout the world, including by the U.S. government and by the news media. North American libraries, which use the Wade-Giles system, are the only exception.

A few examples from the WadeGiles/pinyin conversion table show the differences in the two systems: WadeGiles uses hung, pinyin uses hong; WadeGiles uses hsuing, pinyin uses xiong.

The Library has already discussed its plans to convert to pinyin romanization widely with the American Library Association, the Online Computer Library Center, the Research Libraries Group, the Council on East Asian Libraries, and the National Library of Australia, which has recently converted more that 500,000 Chinese records to pinyin.

A Pinyin Task Group has been formed at the Library of Congress, and planning for conversion of files and implementation of the new standard has begun. The Library will continue to consult with the library community and bibliographic utilities throughout the process in order to most effectively coordinate and harmonize conversion procedures. …

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