Archives for the Month of January 2013 on Carl's ILLiad Blog

ILLiad Requests and Non-Roman Alphabetical Characters

Just wanted to report a new development in how ILLiad processes non-Roman characters as they might be applied in your request citations. This will serve as an amendment to part of my entry of January 22, 2010, titled "Foreign Language Titles in Interlibrary Loan Requests". As a preface, "Roman" (or "Latin") is defined as the basic alphabetical character set used to write the English language, as well as the majority of European languages (with the notable exceptions of Greek and Eastern Slavic languages--e.g., Russian, Ukrainian) and many non-European languages worldwide. (As a side note, many modified Roman characters and most diacritical marks used to modify Roman or other alphabetial characters still can be read and imported by ILLiad.)

Upon testing the entry viability of several character sets in the ILLiad system, the following results have been discovered...
Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic and Hebrew alphabets all appear to be accepted and transferable by both ILLiad and OCLC WorldCat. On the other hand, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean writing systems, as well as Hindi script and Armenian alphabetical characters, cannot be effectively processed by ILLiad at all, and any such characters will re-appear as either nondescript place-holders or ASCII character codes within the submitted transaction record fields.

As to how these results are relevant and applicable to your request citation submissions in ILLiad, we would suggest the following...
*In the case of any text entries originally in Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic or Hebrew, it is preferable that in the case of critical search title information--i.e., loan titles (books, theses, music scores, etc.), journal or serial titles, or conference proceedings titles--to provide already transliterated into Roman alphabetical characters. Secondary title information, however, can conceivably be entered in its original form--i.e., in the case of article titles, book chapter titles, conference paper titles. Still, it is always preferable to provide this (and all) text in Romanized version. Of course, one major exception would include any individual technical symbols based on Greek alphabetical characters, in a scientific or mathematical context.
*Avoid entering any text originally in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Hindi, or Armenian (or most other writing systems), unless these have already been transliterated into Roman characters based on a standardized method--in any of the data fields of the ILLiad request form you are using.

Since the OCLC WorldCat database, our principle holdings search resource, is still essentially based upon Roman characters, it is most helpful to ILL staff that you provide as much of your citation data in Roman transliteration as possible, in order to avoid excessive delays. Any text in non-Roman writing will effectively impede the efficient processing of your interlibrary loan requests, as our search processes must be performed primarily using Roman characters. Although ILL staff are often reasonably familiar with foreign languages or can consult readily available translation resources, it cannot be assumed that we are fluent or conversant in anything other than the English language for general research purposes. Any efforts you can make in providing easily readable information--in the written format most familiar to us--will most certainly contribute to the expedient processing of your ILLiad requests, and are greatly appreciated.