ALA-LC romanization

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ALA-LC (American Library Association - Library of Congress) is a set of standards for romanization, or the representation of text in other writing systems using the Latin script.


This system is used to represent bibliographic information by North American libraries and the British Library (for acquisitions since 1975),[1] and in publications throughout the English-speaking world.

The Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules require that catalogers Romanize access points from their non-Roman originals.[2] However, as the MARC have been expanded to allow catalog records containing Unicode characters,[3][4] many catalogers now include bibliographic data in both Roman and original scripts. The emerging Resource Description and Access continues many of AACR's Romanization recommendations, but refers to the process as "transliteration" rather than "Romanization."[5]


The ALA-LC Romanization includes over 70 Romanization tables.[6] Some notable tables include:

  • A Cherokee Romanization table, which was created by the LC and ALA in 2012, and subsequently approved by the Cherokee Tri-Council meeting in Cherokee, North Carolina. This was the first ALA-LC romanization table for a Native American syllabary.[7]
  • The Chinese Romanization table used the Wade–Giles transliteration system until 1997, when the Library of Congress (LC) announced a decision to switch to the Pinyin system.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Searching for Cyrillic items in the catalogues of the British Library: guidelines and transliteration tables
  2. ^ Agenbroad, James E. (5 June 2006). "Romanization Is Not Enough". Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 42 (2): 21–34. doi:10.1300/J104v42n02_03. 
  3. ^ McCallum, S.H. "MARC: keystone for library automation". IEEE Annals of the History of Computing 24 (2): 34–49. doi:10.1109/MAHC.2002.1010068. 
  4. ^ Aliprand, Joan M. (22 January 2013). "The Structure and Content of MARC 21 Records in the Unicode Environment". Information Technology and Libraries 24 (4). doi:10.6017/ital.v24i4.3381. 
  5. ^ Seikel, Michele (9 October 2009). "No More Romanizing: The Attempt to Be Less Anglocentric in RDA". Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 47 (8): 741–748. doi:10.1080/01639370903203192. 
  6. ^ "ALA-LC Romanization Tables". Cataloging and Acquisitions. Library of Congress. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Cherokee Romanization Table". Cataloging and Acquisitions. Library of Congress. 2012. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  8. ^ Council on East Asian Libraries (CEAL) Pinyin Liaison Group (March 2000). "Final Report on Pinyin Conversion". Chinese Librarianship: an International Electronic Journal 9. ISSN 1089-4667. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 

External links[edit]