ACAT Question about cataloging cyrillic script

Posting to Autocat

On 10/23/2015 11:25 PM, Balek, Kathryn M wrote:
Putting forth a question to you lot. And feeling a bit silly, because it’s probably fairly basic. I’ve had some books come in to catalog for our archives and they are entirely in Cyrillic script. It hasn’t come up for me before, and I’m not entirely sure how to even search WorldCat for records for these titles — if I need a special keyboard or if there’s a way to map my keyboard to use Cyrillic. So I suppose my question would be what resources are other catalogers using when searching/cataloging an item in Cyrillic or some other non-Roman script.

One of the very first problems with “cyrillic” is that it isn’t a language, but is like “roman-language”: just as many languages are in roman script, there are many languages in cyrillic script, and each is transliterated in its own way. For instance, the letter “г” is transliterated as “g” in Russian but “h” in Ukrainian. That happens with lots of letters.

Simply searching is tough since the very first step is to figure out what the language is, and the transliteration of each can be quite different. Incorrect transliteration is not uncommon in our catalogs, and when I was suspicious after getting a 0 hit, I would normally research it under an incorrect transliteration. I often found it.

As an additional complication(!) libraries from different countries transliterate cyrillic scripts in ways that are completely different from LC transliteration. I don’t know how that works out in a Worldcat search with records from libraries around the world.