Searching for items in non-Latin script
Leiden University Libraries hosts materials in hundreds of different languages, including many languages that are written in non-Latin scripts.
Since 2015, all items are catalogued in the original scripts. Therefore, you may use for instance Arabic, Persian, Russian, Hebrew, Japanese, Korean or Chinese script in the library catalogue to find resources in these languages. To find items we received before 2015 in the catalogue, you will have to use transliteration.
Not in this list?
For languages that are not mentioned on this page, we advise to look at the full list of books and other items for that particular languages. Go to the Catalogue, go to Advanced Search, select ‘Leiden Collections’, choose the language of choice and mention as your search term ubl*. This will give you an impression of the transcription system that is used for the language.
A Dutch system was in use until 2015, characterized by the use of diacritics. Since 2015, the international ALA-LC system has been in use. This new system is common in libraries worldwide. Entries added since 2015 also include Arabic script. Older entries have not been adapted to the new system. Therefore, trying out both romanization systems is necessary for searching specific titles.
Materials in Chinese can be found using the original script (both using simpified and traditional characters), or using the pinyin transcription system. See the subject guide Chinese Studies for details.
A new, international system is in use since 2018 together with Hebrew script. Older entries have not been adapted to the new system and do not contain Hebrew script. It may therefore be necessary to search twice. Diacritics do not have to be typed while searching. In the table below, the character that can be used for searching is between parentheses.
For Hindi, several transcription systems are in use, including the ALA-LC system.
Materials in Japanese can be found using romanization. Generally, the revised Hepburn system is in use.
Many records also provide the original script (kanji and kana), but this is not the case for many older records; hence the advice to (also) use romanization when searching.
See the subject guide Japan Studies for details and search hints.
- Armenian used to be transcribed according to the ISO norm 9985, but currently the ALA-LC system is in use.
- Berber (Tamazight) is written in various ways: in Tifinagh, Arabic script and Latin script. Materials written in Tifinagh are transcribed using the ALA-LC system and records also provide the original script.
- Ottoman Turkish is transcribed according to the modern Turkish spelling, with the addition of additional diacritical marks that indicate the differences between Ottoman Turkish characters that have the same pronunciation. Since 2021, the ALA-LC system is in use; books that have arrived before that time have been transcribed using a local system that is slightly different. It is not necessary to include the diacritical marks when searching.
A Dutch system was in use until 2015. After that, the library switched to the international ALA-LC system. Persian script has also been added to the records since 2015. Older entries in the catalogue are not adapted to the new system and Persian script. Searching twice may therefore be necessary. Diacritics do not have to be typed while searching. In the table below, the character that can be used for searching is between parentheses.
Leiden University Libraries uses a variant of the ISO/R9 standard from 1968 for Russian and other languages in Cyrillic script. New records also provide the original script. See the manual for the full table.