Cataloging Service Bulletin, No. 80 (Spring 1998), p. 11
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LC received responses from eleven individuals and institutions to a survey on Yiddish romanization issues which appeared in the Cataloging Service Bulletin, no. 77, summer 1997, p. 66-68.  Many of those who responded were also participants in the joint response already received from the Association of Jewish Libraries (AJL), initiator of the original queries.  Thoughtful replies weighed the benefits in access and the cultural/esthetic value of the proposed changes against the practical difficulties posed by a cleanup of bibliographic and authority files.  Each of the five options presented found supporters.
     The first proposed change concerns treatment of forenames of Hebrew or Aramaic origin used by Yiddish authors, which are now romanized as Hebrew:  the character-string mem-shin-heh, for example, is romanized as "Mosheh" in all contexts, rather than as "Moysheh" or the like when the context is Yiddish.  The suggested options were to: (a) retain current policy; (b) continue establishing names according to current policy, adding a see-reference in every case from a Yiddish romanization supplied from an authorized list, and to add such references to older headings on an as-encountered basis; or (c) begin establishing names in forms provided by an authorized list as of a stated date, to add see-references from the Hebrew forms, and consider changes to older headings as and when requested by outside libraries.

     In view of the responses to these suggested options, LC will begin work with other libraries to generate an authorized list of Yiddish romanizations for forenames of Hebrew or Aramaic origin.  When the list is ready, LC will begin to add references to all newly created authority records for the authors concerned in accordance with option (b).  When, after implementation of the integrated library system (ILS) scheduled for October 1999, LC has better facilities for maintenance and update of records, we will consider moving toward option (c) and standardizing Yiddish romanization of forenames in headings rather than in references.

     The second proposed change concerns romanization of vowel- combinations in Yiddish when the first vowel-letter is yud.  Current LC policy prescribes transcription of a "y" between the vowels of the combination.  The proposed options were to (1) to retain current policy, or (2) simplify the romanization of these vowel-clusters by omission of the "y," as in the romanization scheme of the YIVO Institute of Jewish Research.
LC Romanization
YIVO Romanization
Yud patah-alef iya ia 
Yud ayin  iye ie 
Yud yud  iyi ii 
Yud kamats-alef iyo io 
Yud vav  iyu iu 
In view of the responses to these suggested options, LC will support option (2), a change to YIVO-style romanization of the Yiddish vowel combinations under discussion.  Because integrating such a change throughout the catalog would be prohibitively time- consuming with LC's present maintenance and update capabilities, we will delay undertaking full implementation until after the ILS is in place.

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