Romanization in library resources
Searching for and using library materials written in non-Romans alphabets or ideographs present special challenges for library users.
Until 1999 the Library of Congress, who sets standards for libraries in the United States, used the Wade-Giles transliteration system. This system, developed by Sir Thomas Francis Wade in the mid-nineteenth century and modified by Herbert Allen Giles in 1912, remained the world standard for most of the 20th century. The Wade-Giles system was based on pronunciation from nonstandard speech sounds and contains symbols that represent different sounds and sometimes different symbols for the same sound.
Pinyin, the Chinese Phonetic Alphabet based on the pronunciation of Mandarin Chinese, was created by the Committee on Language Reform in China in 1956 and further modified in 1958. In 1979 the State Council of the People's Republic of China for Romanization prescribed that Pinyin would be used for all translated publications for English speaking countries.
Searching library resources
You may encounter several problems in searching for Chinese names and titles in the catalog and in databases. There are several reasons why the records for the items may still use Wade-Giles instead of Pinyin romanization: