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Foreign Language Searching

Names and words originally in Non-Roman characters may be expressed using Roman characters according to varying systems by translators and by catalogers. Suggestions: in Mango use the Keyword author search and look for "Did you mean" suggestions to alternate spellings of names, or use browse searches in the Previous catalog to enable referrals between forms of names and titles .

Here are some notes about how users are able to find and display foreign language materials in the New (or Mango) catalog and in the Previous (or Aleph) catalog.

1. Languages using Roman alphabet characters like English and French.

Most foreign language materials in UF libraries use the Roman alphabet, but with diacritics in conjunction with those letters more frequently than in English. These added diacritics have a significant impact on how users are able to retrieve foreign language materials. In the catalog one can perform phrase searches that include diacritics or punctuation with or without including those diacritics or punctuation marks in the search box. Keyword searches that are not phrase searches are also able to retrieve words that contain diacritics or punctuation marks without them in the search using either catalog. One way to enter foreign language phrase searches in the New catalog is to copy and paste the parts with diacritics from other catalog records, then complete the phrase and enclose it in quote marks.

2. Foreign language materials that use non-Roman characters like Chinese, Russian, or Hebrew.

In the past we only entered vernacular materials by converting them into Roman characters, but now our catalogs also permit search and display of materials in vernacular languages. Searching with vernacular characters of some languages can now be achieved by library patrons using a special keyboard, and further details about this will be provided on request.

Most users continue to search using Roman characters and there is frequently more than one way to convert a character into the Roman alphabet. The current tables for the conversions that are used in cataloging are available at

Users attempting to search for authors or titles in these materials will find it particularly useful to employ "Browse by organized list" searches in the Previous (or Aleph) catalog because this will allow the benefit of cross-references between different names and titles that are used in the system.

Example: One of the most recognized works from China among westerners is the Book of tao, and both the title and the author have been translated into English in many ways. A name search for the author as “lao tze” in the Previous catalog browse organized lists with cross-reference yields the standard form of the name “Laozi”. Users can then click on ”Laozi” to retrieve all works by that author, including the Book of tao, or it’s standard translation “Dao de jing.”

Lao-Tse - [LC Authority Record]
   See:  Laozi

Here are the first two of 73 hits in results from “Laozi”:

Author: Yuan, Naiying.
Title: Classical Chinese : supplementary selections from philosophical texts : glossaries, analyses  
Format: Book
Year: 2006
Availability: click for details

LIBRARY WEST -- PL1117.5.P45 Y82 2006 [Regular Loan]

Author: Wagner, Rudolf G.
Title: A Chinese reading of the Daodejing [electronic resource] : Wang Bi’s commentary on the Laozi with critical text and translation  
Format: Computer File
Year: 2003
Availability: click for details

ONLINE -- See Link to Connect 

 Read this E-book 
 Licensed for UF students and faculty and staff

In the New catalog there are only 2 results retrieved by entering “Lao tse” in the author search; and in the browse author search there are none.



Prepared by: Jimmie Lundgren and Nancy Poehlmann

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