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Finding Chinese Materials in Franklin

All Chinese language materials collected by the University of Pennsylvania Library are searchable through Franklin, the library's online catalog. Since the system upgrade in August, 2006, Franklin can now display Chinese characters (both traditional and simplified) in various fields of the bibliographical record, such as the title, author, edition, series title, place of publication, and publisher. However, due to a number of technical issues, patrons are still advised to input romanized terms to search Franklin for Chinese materials.

In Franklin, all Chinese words in the records of Chinese language materials, regardless of their place of publication, are romanized according to the Pinyin 拼音 System, which has been the official romanization system of the People's Republic of China since 1958. Patrons who are more familiar with other phonographic systems of Chinese, such as the Mandarin Phonetic Symbols (also known as Guoyu zhuyin fuhao 國語注音符號 or Bo-po-mo-fo ㄅㄆㄇㄈ) and Wade-Giles system, should convert the symbols and spellings in those systems to Pinyin before searching Chinese materials in Franklin. Two tables for converting MPS and Wade-Giles to Pinyin are available here in the PDF format.

Following the Chinese Romanization Guidelines established by the Library of Congress, Franklin treats each Chinese syllable/character as an individual word. That means, when searching Chinese materials in Franklin by Pinyin, one has to insert a space between any two Chinese syllables, even though they may constitute a standard phrase in modern Mandarin. For example, one should input "li shi" instaed of "lishi" for the Chinese phrase 歷史, and input "guo jia" instead of "guojia" for the phrase 國家. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. Polysyllabic surnames (e.g. Sima 司馬 and Ouyang 歐陽), given names (e.g. [Mao] Zedong [毛]澤東 and [Sun] Zhongshan [孫]中山), geographic names (e.g. Zhongguo 中國 and Beijing 北京), and reign periods (e.g. Zhenguan 貞觀 and Qianlong 乾隆) should not be seperated.

In addition to bibliographical records of Chinese language materials, many records of China-related materials in Western and Japanese languages also contain subject, personal, and geographic headings in Chinese. Most of the headings are still romanized in the Wade-Giles System. The Library is currently working on the project to convert all of these headings from Wade-Giles to Pinyin, which may take a few years to complete. During this transitional period, patrons should try both Pinyin and Wade-Giles when searching for non-Chinese materials on China by keyword and subject.